Trump says US-Canada trade deal possible, excluding Mexico


Trudeau is scheduled to visit Mexico City on October 12 and 13 after his two-day Washington's his first official visit to Mexico, with Trudeau's office saying he and President Enrique Pena Nieto will discuss trade issues. Trudeau is also scheduled today to meet with the House Committee on Ways and Means, the group responsible for implementing changes to NAFTA.

Trump, asked whether NAFTA was dead during an appearance with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House, said, "We'll see what happens".

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would be open to a bilateral trade pact with Canada if a deal can not be reached with Mexico to substantially revise the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"It's possible we won't be able to reach a deal with one or the other", Trump said, a poker-faced Trudeau seated at his side.

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It wasn't clear whether the change in the prime minister's NAFTA message was a direct result of his meeting with the USA president, someone he acknowledged "makes decisions that surprise people sometimes".

Or perhaps separate bilateral deals with Canada and Mexico will be the way forward, the president suggested.

"In terms of trade, the USA sells more to Canada than it does to China, Japan and the United Kingdom combined".

He said tariffs would increase by more - around 7 percent - for USA businesses exporting to Mexico.

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"The possibility exists that we could leave the negotiating table because our partners are asking for things that Mexico can't deliver", its president, Juan Pablo Castanon, said earlier this month.

Trudeau wouldn't say Wednesday at what point Canada might be prepared to walk away, if ever. But repeating the "ready for anything" sentiment multiple times suggests a conscious decision to acknowledge that the outcome of the talks may not go Canada's way.

"I continue to believe in saying, we are ready for anything, and we will continue to work diligently to protect Canadian interests", Trudeau said.

"We're taking this very seriously and we're taking the importance of standing up for Canadian jobs and Canadian economic growth very seriously, and that goes (for) every economic engagement we have with the Americans". "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. A Democratic colleague called on Canada to loosen its protections for cultural industries, exempted from the current NAFTA.

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"An abrupt exit from NAFTA would be more of a loss for USA exporters than for Mexican ones", he said.