"In the meantime, we'll make a deal with one, but I think we have a chance to do something very creative that's good for Canada, Mexico and the United States".
What anything could look like was raised by U.S. President Donald Trump in his talks with Trudeau earlier Wednesday at the White House.
The Canadian prime minister, making his second visit to the White House this year, was also expected to raise the Trump administration's recent decision to hit Canadian manufacturer Bombardier with punishing tariffs on its C Series airliner. "It's possible we won't be able to make a deal and it's possible that we will", Trump said, noting the close relations between the two countries and leaders.
Trump told Forbes, in an interview published Tuesday, he thinks Nafta will have to be terminated-as signals mount the U.S.is putting potentially deal-breaking proposals on the table and as the top USA business group sounds the alarm.
Mexico's foreign relations secretary, Luis Videgaray, said Tuesday his country won't accept "limited, managed trade", an apparent reference to demands for higher US and regional content rules on products like auto parts.
Trump's commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, said it's not new that Trump would consider bilateral agreements.
Asked by a reporter if he could envision maintaining free trade with Canada if NAFTA talks sour with Mexico, Trump said: "Oh sure, absolutely". Trudeau and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May have called on Trump to intervene.
With North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations resuming this week, and criticism mounting, the "most-read" list begins and ends with NAFTA. "This is a 23-year-old agreement and the economy has moved on", she told the Most Powerful Women summit in an interview Tuesday, while also plugging Canada's proposal to add a gender chapter to the trade deal.
"An abrupt exit from NAFTA would be more of a loss for US exporters than for Mexican ones", he said. "And the Chamber has had no choice but ring the alarm bells", he said in a speech in Mexico City, a day before a crucial fourth round of talks on updating the 1994 deal opens in Washington. Mexican Presidential elections and USA mid-term elections scheduled for next year threaten to add to tensions in negotiations.
Trump is welcoming Trudeau to the Oval Office at the start of a new round of talks over NAFTA.
Trump can withdraw the USA from the deal after giving Canada and Mexico six months' notice, though experts debate whether the president would require congressional approval.