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Trump's words hang over NAFTA table as USA business frets

12 October 2017

Trump on Wednesday repeated his warnings that he might terminate the pact and said he was open to doing a bilateral deal with either Canada or Mexico if three-way negotiations fail.

"Some of us in Mexico think that on several occasions our Canadian friends have come close to throwing us under the bus", said Arturo Sarukhan, the former Mexican ambassador to the USA, said at a NAFTA-related event hosted by Dentons law firm in D.C. on Wednesday.

"So saying, we are ready for anything and we will continue to work diligently to protect Canadian interests, to stand up for jobs, and look for opportunities for Canadian business and citizens of all of our friends and neighbour countries to do well".

President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put up a front of accommodation and cooperation at the White House that belies the alarms being raised by industry and farm groups over changes to Nafta being pushed by the U.S.

The president reiterated that "I've been opposed to NAFTA for a long time in terms of the fairness of NAFTA".

"It's possible we won't be able to make a deal, and it's possible that we will", he said. "We have a tough negotiation, and it's something you will know in the not too distant future".

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The Democrats marshaled their forces as the NAFTA talks resumed across the Potomac River in the D.C. suburb of Alexandria, Va., and as news reports indicate they may break down over the GOP Trump administration's demands for higher USA domestic content in cars, among other issues.

"We don't hope it will, we don't desire that it will, we don't believe that it will, but it is at least a conceptual possibility as we go forward", Ross said. A top trade specialist who was privy to nations' stands in talks for the now-dead Trans-Pacific Partnership, said in an informal conversation afterwards that the Trump administration's top bargainer, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, is dead set against the current "trade court", called the Investor-State Dispute System (ISDS). Harper joins Rona Ambrose, former interim Conservative leader and Brian Mulroney, former Progressive Conservative prime minister. "They want a successful renegotiation", said committee member Rep.

But Trudeau also told committee members that he was anxious about "poison pills", proposals the United States might make that were created to kill, not fix, the NAFTA agreement. Debbie Dingell and Dan Kildee, both D-Mich., and both with auto and part plants, though not as many as once loomed there.

The Trump administration's decision to impose 219 percent tariffs on Canadian aircraft - created to block a Bombardier sale to Delta that Boeing had pursued - also inflamed tensions with Canada. On the campaign trail, he called NAFTA a job-killing disaster. The administration has no Plan B. Nor, in its rhetoric against offshoring of work (most to China and south Asia), has this billionaire-laden administration proposed penalties for big businesses that do so, rather than attacking NAFTA. Under the U.S. proposal, America would require more to be made in the country and less sourced from other members of the block. "Now we're renegotiating it".

New trade deals might be negotiated - eventually.

The fourth round of talks will extend to October 17.

Trump's words hang over NAFTA table as USA business frets