During a televised cabinet meeting today, the U.S. president said his administration isn’t negotiating with Canada right now, before adding that its tariffs are too high and barriers too strong.
Officials from each country have insisted there’s nothing unusual about the one-on-one discussions on the three-country deal because it’s allowing the U.S. and Mexico sort tough bilateral issues, such as their differences on autos.
But some observers have argued Ottawa has been frozen out of the critical NAFTA negotiations and could eventually be forced into accepting a deal reached between its continental partners.
For four straight weeks, U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo have held bilateral NAFTA talks while Canada has been absent from the bargaining table.
During the cabinet meeting, Lighthizer told the room he’s hopeful for a NAFTA breakthrough with Mexico in the coming days – but Trump said he’s in no rush to make a deal unless it’s the right one.