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Trump’s US-Mexico NAFTA deal taking heat for failing to include Canada

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Canadian
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald
Trump

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  • The Trump administration notified Congress on Friday it
    intends to enter a bilateral trade deal with Mexico — and
    Canada can join later.
  • Talks between US and Canadian officials broke down on
    Friday, in part due to leaked Trump comments saying the US
    doesn’t intend to compromise.
  • More negotiations between Canada and the US are
    scheduled for next week, and representatives from both
    countries said Friday they’re hopeful a trilateral deal can be
    reached.
  • But lawmakers and trade groups were skeptical of
    Trump’s US-Mexico deal, saying Canada must be included in the
    final version.

Lawmakers and trade groups reacted with skepticism and dismay on
Friday, after the Trump administration notified Congress of its
intent to enter a bilateral trade deal with
Mexico
— and Canada could join later “if it is willing.”

Negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement between
US and Canadian officials went on through much of the week, but
abruptly fell apart on Friday after remarks were leaked from
President Donald Trump, who reportedly said he didn’t intend to
compromise with Canada at all.

According to The Toronto Star, Trump told Bloomberg News
reporters on Thursday that any deal reached would be “totally on
our terms” and suggested that Canadians would have “no choice”
but to go along with the plan out of fear that Trump would impose
auto tariffs.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, however, said in a
statement Friday that it will continue negotiating with Canada
with the intent of eventually including the country in a
trilateral NAFTA deal.

But backlash against the US-Mexico deal quickly ensued. House
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the deal an “incomplete NAFTA
notification” in a statement, saying that fixing the trade deal
would require both Mexico and Canada.

“We still don’t know the specifics of this trade agreement, or
whether it will measure up to the claims of an Administration
with a terrible record of delivering,” Pelosi said. “I remain
hopeful of progress, but without a final agreement with Canada,
the Administration’s work is woefully incomplete.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, tweeted that his state’s
economy is intertwined with Canada’s — as are most states across
the country.

“I cannot support a trade agreement to replace NAFTA that does
not include Canada, Vermont’s biggest trading partner,” he said.
“There would be grave concerns on both sides of the aisle about
proceeding with an incomplete agreement.”

Beyond just lawmakers, trade groups reacted with concern, and in
some cases, anger.

“After a week filled with insults directed at Canada, today’s
announcement that the United States is notifying Congress of its
intention to sign a trade deal with Mexico is disheartening,”
Sharon Treat, senior attorney of the Institute for Agriculture
& Trade Policy, said in a statement. “America’s farmers
deserve better. A NAFTA deal without Canadian participation is
not a completed deal.”

The Information Technology Industry Council also said a bilateral
deal would risk harming American companies and workers, and
negate any positive effects of the trade agreement.

“Any such changes to the existing NAFTA agreement would be highly
disruptive to global supply chains and to the regional economy,”
ITI CEO Dean Garfield said in a statement.

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