NAFTA: Lighthizer hints Mexico pact may need to be reopened if delayed

Ford is looking at speeding up plans to build more Lincoln models in Chinese plants amid the growing trade war with the United States that has made USA exports less attractive, a senior executive said Monday.

Donald Trump has said he turned down a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, putting a damper on high hopes for trade renegotiations.

Asked if a good deal is possible, even if the USA moves on this week with Mexico alone, Trudeau said, "We will keep working on a broad range of alteratives".

"There are things where, basically, we're just not prepared to give in because it would really render the agreement meaningless", MacNaughton said in a public interview with Politico in Toronto.

On dispute resolution, the Trudeau government wants to keep some form of NAFTA's Chapter 19 panels and the USA wants to eliminate them.

Asked about the challenge that autos tariffs would pose, Trudeau said Canada would need to feel confident "about the path forward as we move forward - if we do - on a NAFTA 2.0".

"We're thinking about taxing cars coming in from Canada", he said.

"I think Canada would like to be in the agreement, I think the USA would like them in the agreement", he said.

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The U.S.is planning to publish the text of its deal with Mexico on Friday, three people familiar with the matter said.

For the first time, Ambassador David MacNaughton identified such tariff protection as a critical Canadian demand in the continuing North American Free Trade Agreement talks, alongside the preservation of NAFTA's "Chapter 19" independent panel system for resolving trade disputes. The decision will fall to congressional leaders, who are generally supportive of free trade and keeping Canada in the pact.

"I'm anxious a little bit that time will catch up with us", he said at a luncheon, noting that he had spent more time in Washington DC working on trade issues than ever before.

He took aim at the country's dairy tariffs and reiterated his threat to tax Canada's auto industry.

A downbeat U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer Tuesday said negotiators are "sort of running out of time" to include Canada in the deal. The pair shared an awkward handshake on Tuesday, when Mr. Trudeau approached Mr. Trump before a group luncheon.

However, the Prime Minister's Office said in an email to CBC News that "no meeting was requested", and that it had no comment beyond that.

"I'm anxious a little bit that time will catch up with us", he said, noting that he had spent more time in Washington working on trade issues than ever before. "I think there's a possibility there to build on what they agreed".

  • Darren Santiago