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Feds say 'no' to US idea of separate bilateral deals

Last Updated Jun 5, 2018 at 6:04 pm MDT

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OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The Trudeau Government is scoffing at the idea of scrapping NAFTA negotiations in favour of separate bilateral trade deals.

This comes after the White House again floated the possibility of separate talks with Canada and Mexico.

Simply put, this option is not on the table for Canada. On his way into question period Andrew Leslie, the Parliamentary Secretary for Canada-U.S. Relations, was quick to dismiss the idea.

“Canada has maintained right from the beginning we believe in a trilateral NAFTA. We believe that together it’s been a win-win-win for our three economies and all three nations prosper,” says Leslie.

But the U.S. is getting more serious about the possibility. President Donald Trump revived the idea last week, and now his leading economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox he spoke with Trump about it. He then pushed the plan to a senior member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office, although he didn’t name who it was.

International Trade Minister Francois Philippes Champagne is dismissing the proposal being put forward by the Trump administration. He says our economies and industries are so tied together, it would be difficult to split the talks.

“Over the last 24 years, we’ve built a very integrated supply chain, which has been good for economy, good for consumers, good for workers on all sides.”

The issue will likely create more economic uncertainty, following the tariffs on steel and aluminum and just in time for the G7 summit in Quebec later this week where tariffs and trade are expected to cause tensions at the talks.