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Trudeau says not to ‘read into’ his brief interaction with Trump at UN

Click to play video: 'Trump and Trudeau’s brief UN handshake' Trump and Trudeau’s brief UN handshake
WATCH: Trump and Trudeau's brief UN handshake – Sep 26, 2018

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrapped up his visit to the United Nations on Wednesday, and although he did not have a personal meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, he said not to “read into it.”

Trudeau was referring to an interaction between the two leaders at the annual UN General Assembly on Tuesday. The prime minister was greeting other leaders around a table Trump was sitting at, and after a few handshakes, he approached the president, who looked like he was reading notes on the toast he was about to give at the luncheon.

READ MORE: Trudeau says his focus during U.S. trade talks is ‘not escalating’

The two exchanged a quick handshake, but Trump did not stand up to greet Trudeau.

When asked about this during a media conference on Wednesday, Trudeau said: “I have continued to engage regularly with the president. We had a very good call just last week, we continue to have regular conversations whenever necessary, whenever we want to.”

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He added that he does not think “there is anything to read into it.”

WATCH: Trudeau says ‘don’t read into’ handshake with Trump at UN

Click to play video: 'Trudeau says ‘don’t read into’ handshake with Trump at UN' Trudeau says ‘don’t read into’ handshake with Trump at UN
Trudeau says ‘don’t read into’ handshake with Trump at UN – Sep 26, 2018
“I was thanking the president of South Africa for his extraordinary speech on Nelson Mandela and I moved around the table to say hello to the prime minister of Italy, and then shook hands with President Trump while he was re-reading his notes for his speech [for] the toast he was about to give,” Trudeau said.

He said it was an interaction like so many at the UN, “quick but cordial. There are all sorts of opportunities for me to speak to President Trump and that was not the time.”

READ MORE: Trudeau phones Trump to discuss trade as Mexico calls on Canada to return to NAFTA talks

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The prime minister spent the last few days in New York mingling and shaking hands with global leaders in an effort to campaign for Canada to gain a temporary seat on the UN Security Council in 2021.

Although he met with several world leaders, he did not have a one-on-meeting with Trump during a time of ongoing uncertainty over trade deals between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

Prior to the New York trip, Trudeau said it was “very likely” that the U.S. and Canada would hold informal talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on the sidelines.

WATCH: Trump, Trudeau and world leaders attend luncheon hosted by UN Secretary-General

Click to play video: 'Trump, Trudeau and world leaders attend luncheon hosted by UN Secretary-General' Trump, Trudeau and world leaders attend luncheon hosted by UN Secretary-General
Trump, Trudeau and world leaders attend luncheon hosted by UN Secretary-General – Sep 25, 2018

On Wednesday, Trudeau told reporters that Canada would not be rushed into renewing NAFTA, although time is running out before Washington will proceed with a Mexico-only deal.

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“We will keep working as long as it takes to get to the right deal for Canada,” Trudeau told reporters when asked about the increasing U.S. pressure to wrap up the talks.

Trudeau also said the tariffs that Trump imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum in late May would have to be scrapped before Canada felt comfortable signing a new NAFTA.

WATCH: Trudeau says if NAFTA deal reached, Trump says no need to worry about tariffs or quotas

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Trudeau says if NAFTA deal reached, Trump says no need to worry about tariffs or quotas – Sep 26, 2018

Trump and Trudeau feud

Trump struck a side deal with Mexico last month and has threatened to exclude Canada, if necessary. He also said he might impose a 25 per cent tariff on Canadian auto exports, which would badly hurt Canada’s economy.

There has also been an ongoing rift between Trump and Trudeau in the midst of these trade talks.

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READ MORE: Donald Trump slams Trudeau (again), says PM will cost Canadians ‘a lot of money’

After Trump slapped tariffs on Canada’s aluminum and steel industry in late May,  Trudeau said: “Canadians are polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around,” adding that it was “insult” that Trump would justify his steel tariffs as a national security issue.

Trump then blasted Trudeau in a series of tweets, calling the prime minister “meek and mild” and “dishonest and weak.”

— With files from Reuters

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