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

Local archers off to international competition in Nashville

Deacon Barclay, Katlyne Glasier and Taylor Knudtson landed in the top 24 of NASP Canadian archers recently

County of Paintearth adopts employee discipline policy

The new policy outlines a standard procedure for administration to follow

AMBER ALERT: Alert cancelled after child located safe and unharmed

Alert cancelled after child located safe and unharmed

Camp Teckla develops skills for kids and youth

Stettler’s popular basketball camp ready to hit the court

Annual Castor competition draws shooters from around the province

The 32nd Castor Trap Club Trophy Shoot ran June 14th to 16th

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

Wetaskiwin RCMP look for wanted man after liquor store robbed

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate armed robbery

More than 700 wildlfire evacuees in Alberta can soon return to Metis community

Evacuees from the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement can safely return starting on Thursday

B.C. files second legal challenge against Alberta over turn-off-taps law

B.C. government filed a second lawsuit against Alberta on June 14

Tax credits, penalizing big polluters, key to Conservative climate plan

Canada’s commitment is to cut emissions to 70 per cent of what they were in 2005 before 2030

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Calgary man facing charges after B.C. police service dog aids in arrest

Heavy police presence results in PSD Jagger finding suspect

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Most Read