U.S. frustration with Canada prompts talk of separate NAFTA deals: report

Robert Lighthizer makes statements to the media following NAFTA round six renegotiations in Montreal. Christinne Muschi/Reuters

WASHINGTON —The United States trade czar is expressing frustration with Canada in the NAFTA negotiations.

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That’s according to a U.S. lawmaker who attended a meeting with him today.

Congressman Ron Kind says U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is even talking about finishing NAFTA negotiations with Mexico first, then doing a separate negotiation with Canada later.

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Kind is a Democrat and one of numerous lawmakers who attended a rare briefing with the U.S. trade representative on Capitol Hill.

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Three other congressmen who participated in the meeting didn’t confirm or deny Lighthizer’s comments. Lighthizer himself also refused to comment afterward.

But some say Lighthizer’s remarks might be tactical – to simply up the pressure on Canada. Some Democrats called it strange to say things are going smoother with Mexico – when key issues related to labour costs and outscourced jobs have yet to be sorted out.

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