Bilats replacing NAFTA a non-starter: Canada

Le Premier ministre canadien Justin Trudeau répond aux questions de journalistes de l'AFP à Ottawa le 9 mai 2018

Bilats replacing NAFTA a non-starter: Canada

"Yesterday we met with the president a couple times, and he is very seriously contemplating kind of a shift in the NAFTA negotiations".

Talks to update NAFTA, which has been in place since 1994, have stalled recently as a result of demands from Canada and Mexico that the USA drop a number of provisions, including one that would see the trade deal expire after five years and provisions related to wages of Mexican autoworkers.

Kudlow also said he relayed Trump's message to a senior member of the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office. He prefers bilateral negotiations and he's looking at two much different countries.

"Canada has maintained right from the beginning we believe in a trilateral NAFTA".

Kudlow said President Trump's preference now, "is to actually negotiate with Mexico and Canada separately".

USA crude prices were down 0.3 per cent at $64.53 a barrel.

On Friday, Trump said he might prefer to end NAFTA in favor of separate bilateral agreements with the two US neighbors.

"He may be moving quickly toward these bilateral discussions instead of as a whole".

"I wouldn't mind seeing a separate deal with Canada, where you have one type of product, so to speak, and a separate deal with Mexico", he said. -Canada relationship - as well as the effort by Canadian politicians of different stripes to appear united when they press Washington on trade issues.

The remarks are likely to create more economic uncertainty between Canada and the US following Trump's imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs that now affect imports from this country, Mexico and Europe.

An anonymous senior Canadian official told AFP that Canada was not taking such an option off the table, but would prefer to keep the NAFTA agreement alive.

But negotiators from the U.S., Canada and Mexico have sought for months to hammer out the terms of a new deal.

Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto renewed their commitment to NAFTA last week after the tariffs were imposed.

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