Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there’s a good reason Americans are finding a NAFTA deal difficult to reach.
He also pushed back on a claim made last night by U.S. President Donald Trump of having refused a one-on-one meeting with Trudeau.
“No, we did not request a meeting,” he told reporters Thursday morning on his way into a cabinet meeting.
“The Americans are finding that the negotiations are tough because Canadians are tough negotiators, as we should be. But a good and fair deal is still very possible and we won’t sign a deal that’s bad for Canada.”
His comment comes after Trump gave a freewheeling Wednesday evening press conference in which he bashed Canada’s negotiator, attacked the team’s negotiating style, and again threatened to impose auto tariffs on Canada.
Trump also said he gave Trudeau the cold shoulder and refused a request for a one-on-one meeting “because his tariffs are too high and he doesn’t seem to want to move — and I told him, ‘Forget about it.’”
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office had told Global News last night that’s not true and that no meeting was requested.
The Americans have imposed a deadline of Sept. 30 to reach a deal.
That’s because they want to submit it to Congress before the American midterms on Nov. 6 and before the Mexican government changes hands on Dec. 1.
However, reports suggest the Canadians are not worried about missing that date given the multiple past deadlines all three teams have blown past.
It’s also not certain whether Trump’s bilateral deal with Mexico will be approved, given Congress had authorized fast-tracked negotiations for a trilateral — not bilateral — trade deal.
Democrats have also said they will not support a deal that does not include Canada.