Trump to Canada: ‘We are straightening out these horrible trade deals’

September 5, 2018

President Trump said Wednesday that he won’t back down in trade negotiations with Canada.

“Look, we have a very strong position and we are the ones people want to come in and take advantage of,” he said, later adding, “We are straightening out these horrible trade deals.”

U.S. and Canadian officials resumed grueling talks aimed at getting Ottawa to join a new North American Free Trade Agreement.

The U.S. and Mexico already struck a tentative agreement to replace the old three-way NAFTA, and Mr. Trump has threatened to proceed without Canada if they can’t get on board.

“I love Canada. I love the people of Canada. But they and other countries have been taking advantage of the United States for many years and this is a president who has stopped it,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

He added, “The deal is a much more fair deal between the United States and Mexico.”

The talks resume after negotiators failed to strike a deal before Mr. Trump’s Friday deadline for Canada to join a tentative U.S.-Mexico pact that would replace the three-way NAFTA.

Without Canada on board, the U.S.-Mexico deal faces a steeper climb and big pitfalls in Congress. But Mr. Trump insists he’s ready to jettison Canada, which he accuses of “decades of abuse” on trade.

Later, at another White House event, Mr. Trump said Canada needs the deal more than the U.S. needs it.

“If it doesn’t work out that is going to be fine for our country. It won’t be fine for Canada,” Mr. Trump said.

The negotiating teams face a new deadline in October when the text of the deal must be submitted to Congress.

Mr. Trump notified Congress last week that he was moving ahead with a U.S.-Mexico deal to replace NAFTA, possibly without Canada.

If Canada is out, Mr. Trump said he would hit them with a 25 percent tariff on cars.

In the tense talks, Canada wants a guarantee that Mr. Trump won’t proceed with auto tariffs and relief from recent tariffs the U.S. slapped on steel and aluminum.

The U.S. is pushing for Canada to lower high tariffs on dairy, which run up to 300 percent, and changes to the dispute resolution mechanism in NAFTA’s Chapter 19.

The U.S.-Mexico deal nixed Chapter 19 and Canada wants it back to challenge U.S. tariffs on lumber, newsprint, steel and aluminum.

Update hourly