Trudeau says Trump told him not to worry about tariffs if NAFTA gets renegotiated

Ambassaor says Ottawa won’t sign if Canada subjected to U.S. tariffs under guise of national security

David MacNaughton, left, Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, opens the door for Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland after she spoke to the media about trade talks at the Office of the United States Trade Representative in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jacquelyn Martin)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says U.S. President Donald Trump has reassured him “a few times” that the U.S. would abandon its punishing tariffs on Canadian imports if the partners successfully renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trudeau made the comment Wednesday when asked by a reporter whether it is possible to reach a deal on NAFTA without addressing tariffs Trump imposed on steel and aluminum imports.

He was also asked if Ottawa needed a solid commitment from Washington that it won’t make good on its threats to impose duties or tariffs on Canadian auto exports.

Trump has used national security as justification for the tariffs, under Sec. 232 of U.S. trade law.

“One of the things in my many conversations with President Trump on the issue of 232 tariffs writ large and, indeed, specifically was his insistence that while if we renegotiate NAFTA, if we get to a NAFTA deal, there will be no need to worry about these other things,” Trudeau said in New York, following the United Nations General Assembly.

“That has been something that he has said a few times.”

READ MORE: Trump threatens auto tariffs vs. Canada if trade talks fail

Trudeau repeated that his government is looking for the right deal for Canada, which includes feeling confident that the path forward won’t include the “punitive tariffs that we consider are unjust.”

Earlier in the day, Trudeau’s envoy to the U.S. stressed that Ottawa won’t sign a deal that lacks a robust dispute settlement mechanism, nor will it join an agreement if it means Canada will still be subjected to American tariffs under the guise of national security.

David MacNaughton was also asked for his opinion — on a scale of one to 10 — whether Ottawa and Washington were likely to strike a new trade deal by a Sunday deadline been imposed by the White House.

MacNaughton’s assessment: “five.”

The ambassador made the comment at a Toronto event hosted by Politico, during which he fielded numerous questions about the state of the NAFTA negotiations.

“Look, it’s challenging,” said MacNaughton, who has been at the bargaining table alongside Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland during high-level talks in Washington.

“I think everybody knows what each other’s position is on all of the major issues and I think it’s really a question of whether or not the U.S. wants to have a deal.”

MacNaughton said Canada is “anxious” to strike an agreement to bring some certainty to the investment climate and to open the door for Ottawa to start working more closely with the Americans on some of the bigger issues that confront both countries.

“We’ll see where it goes, but so far it’s been tough,” he said. “It’s been long and exhausting, but I think we’ve narrowed the gap.”

On Tuesday, U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer told a conference on the fringes of the General Assembly that the two sides had “still a far amount of distance” between them.

“There are a number of significant issues between us… I think Canada wants to do it, I know we want to do it, and we’ll see what happens. We’re sort of running out of time,” Lighthizer said.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Credit card’s balance protection insurance is expensive and often inadequate

Consider investing in personally owned life, disability or critical illness insurance

High number of Clearview students graduate: Annual report

Clearview boasts 86.4 per cent Grade 12 completion

UPDATED: Calgary Police receive multiple bomb threats

Similar threats received across Canada and the United States

Castor Food Bank gets a boost

Ben and Simons Pie Shoppe donates

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

Yellow Vests protestors take to Red Deer streets

Trudeau government’s immigration and oil industry policies denounced at rally

World Sikh Organization demands Canada prove Sikh extremism is a threat

Sikh community says this is first time such extremism has been mentioned in federal terror-threat assessment

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Most Read