Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said negotiations to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) broke down between his country, the US, and Mexico Vice President Mike Pence demanded any deal to expire in five years, The Washington Post reported.
This breakdown happened in the midst of President Donald Trump's decision to levy stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from a swath of American allies including Canada and Mexico, provoking likely retaliation and a possible all-out trade war.
The White House sent a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Thursday night, saying the days of America being taken advantage of are over. "The Unite States will agree to a fair deal, or there will be no deal at all".
With the NAFTA talks seeming close to a possible breakthrough, Trudeau says he suggested to the USA president last Friday that they sit down with Mexico's Enrique Pena Nieto and talk about reaching a deal.
'I stated that I thought we were quite close to reaching an agreement, and perhaps the time had come for me to sit down with the president in Washington in order to finalize the NAFTA agreement, ' Trudeau said Thursday.
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"We already had the bones of a very good agreement for all parties, and I thought it might be opportune for all of us to sit down for a few hours and discuss it".
Trudeau yesterday said that talks with the US collapsed after a call with Pence in which the VP drew a red line under a five-year sunset for whatever deal is negotiated. The Canadian leader told Trump in a phone call he would not sign an agreement with such a "sunset clause".
Canada, Mexico and Europe had been exempted from import duties of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum when they were first imposed in March, but those exemptions will expire as scheduled on Friday. George said it's unclear whether the tariffs are a negotiating tactic on the part of USA officials. "There is no longer a very precise date when they may be concluded" so they were added to the tariff list, he said.
"We have to believe that at some point their common sense will prevail".
Trump's remarks follow a refusal by Trudeau to accept terms laid out by the USA administration.