Trump warns it's 'possible' the USA will drop out of Nafta

STEPHEN CROWLEY  NYT

"I highlighted to the president how we disagreed, vehemently, with Commerce's decision to bring in countervailing and anti-dumping duties against Bombardier", Trudeau told reporters following talks with US President Donald Trump.

His primary goal was to protect USA workers, Trump said, noting Trudeau would also seek to protect Canadians. "And I certainly mentioned that this was a block to us purchasing any - making any military procurements from Boeing".

Trudeau joined Trump in the Oval Office at the start of a new round of talks over the North American Free Trade Agreement, which the USA president has threatened to withdraw from if he can't negotiate a better agreement with Canada and Mexico.

Trump, who targeted NAFTA frequently during his election campaign, said in an Forbes interview that was published Tuesday: "I happen to think that NAFTA will have to be terminated if we're going to make it good".

But Mexico has always been the lone developing country in the trade pact, with wages that are significantly lower than in Canada or the U.S. Critics say this fact gives Mexico an unfair advantage in NAFTA - a criticism that President Trump has echoed.

Trump was speaking in the Oval Office beside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is trying to convince the US president of NAFTA's merits as a new round of renegotiations began on Wednesday near Washington. The talks are scheduled to conclude October 16.

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He and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland are expected to make a joint appearance. The original free trade agreement signed between the United States and Canada in 1988 did not include Mexico.

With a nationalist economic agenda, Trump has denounced the agreement as a job destroyer and a "disaster" for the United States, vowing to reverse offshoring by renegotiating the treaty.

"As we prepare to leave the European Union, we will seek to transition all existing European Union trade arrangements to ensure that the United Kingdom maintains the greatest amount of certainty, continuity and stability in our trade and investment relationships", a spokesman for the Department for International Trade said.

Negotiators have completed talks on NAFTA provisions relating to small and medium enterprises as well as competition, Lighthizer's office said.

An updated NAFTA must account for the digital economy, make progress on customs rules, beef up intellectual property protections and improve market access for US dairy producers, Brady said.

Trump has threatened to scrap the 1994 pact unless changes are made to address issues such as a $64 billion deficit with Mexico. Overall trade between the three Nafta partners reached $1.1 trillion in 2016. "It makes sense to modernize it", said Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.

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