Washington, Sep 1: President Donald Trump has said privately that he won't make compromises with Canada in high-stakes talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump's remarks raised doubts about whether the two countries can quickly reach a deal to keep Canada in the 24-year-old trading bloc, along with the United States and Mexico.
The president reportedly said in the interview, "it's going to be so insulting they're not going to be able to make a deal." Trump's comments, and the dim picture they drew of the US-Canada negotiations, appeared to dishearten Wall Street, where traders sent stock prices falling in the wake of the report.
On Friday afternoon, Trump took to Twitter: "Wow, I made OFF THE RECORD COMMENTS to Bloomberg concerning Canada, and this powerful understanding was BLATANTLY VIOLATED. Oh well, just more dishonest reporting. I am used to it. At least Canada knows where I stand!"
The flurry of events followed a preliminary agreement that the United States and Mexico reached Monday to replace NAFTA with an arrangement that is intended, among other things, to shift more auto manufacturing to the United States. Canada was pointedly not part of that deal. Its top trade envoy, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, rushed to Washington on Tuesday to try to negotiate Canada's way back into a new version of the 24-year-old NAFTA. The US-Canadian talks have been ongoing since then.