Freeland postpones United Nations speech as NAFTA deadline looms

Relations between the two neighbors have been strained since Trump assailed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the G-7 meeting in June, calling him "weak" and "dishonest".

"For the first time there is a real effort of the parties" to reach an agreement, said Friday evening the mexican minister of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, laying before the Senate the text that has already been signed in August by the United States and Mexico. "I must be honest with you, we're not getting along at all with their negotiators". A USTR spokesman declined comment on the timing.

Canadian officials said they do not believe Trump can rework NAFTA into a bilateral deal without the approval of Congress. He also took a shot at Canada's "representative" in the NAFTA negotiations, an apparent reference to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who has been leading Canada's negotiations with the U.S. The U.S. wants to scrap that mechanism.

Trump cited dairy as a sticking point, but Yussuff said the Canadians needs a guarantee it won't be hit with new tariffs if they sign a deal.

"He said the negotiation was very hard, that it might not be possible (to reach a three-way deal), but that they (Canada) had made a proposal", he told a press conference.

In late August, the USA and Mexico negotiated a new pact to replace NAFTA, snubbing Canada in the process.

Mr. Trump is using potential tariffs on all auto and auto parts imported into the U.S.as a negotiating hammer, not only with Canada but also with the E.U., Japan and other countries, Height Capital analyst Clayton Allen wrote in a note. He has repeatedly said he is ready to walk away from the talks rather than sign a document he thinks is bad. "The Americans are finding that the negotiations are tough because Canadians are tough negotiators, as we should be", Trudeau told reporters on the way into a regular weekly cabinet meeting in Ottawa.

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Trump blames NAFTA for the loss of US manufacturing jobs and wants major changes to the pact, which underpins $1.2 trillion in annual trade.

The prime minister, the foreign affairs minister, and Canada's ambassador to the USA are leading the Canadian negotiations from Ottawa, as the US and Mexican imposed deadline of September 30 at midnight closes in. He was asked twice if he'd quit the current NAFTA pact, and didn't say.

The release of the trade deal text starts a months-long process for US congressional approval that will require a lengthy analysis by the independent USA global Trade Commission and notification periods before an up-or-down vote.

'That means the negotiations aren't over yet, ' he said.

Lawmakers briefed by Lighthizer said he told them the earliest a vote could occur, either on a U.S. -Mexico deal or a trilateral deal including Canada, would be February or March 2019, after the U.S. Congress elected in November is sworn in.

The White House under USA trade law has to publish the text 60 days before the president can sign the agreement, which then goes to Congress for approval. The United States has said that Mexico agreed to eliminate a system of settlement panels to arbitrate disputes over anti-dumping and anti-dumping tariffs.

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