The North American Free Trade Agreement could be on the verge of disintegration after coming under sustained attack from Donald Trump, a longtime critic of the three-nation deal. All the while, the president has continued threatening to withdraw the United States from the trade agreement. This week the influential US Chamber of Commerce warned it was time to "ring alarm bells" over the NAFTA talks.
When asked for comment on The Telegraph report, the spokesman said: "We are confident that we will find a deal that works for Britain and Europe too".
Following his visit to Washington, Trudeau is due to travel to Mexico, where he will meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto. In addition, officials said they are preparing for the possibility of ending the NAFTA and moving U.S. $1 trillion in annual trade. Trump's stance has, however, been criticised by U.S. businesses.
"Some of us in Mexico think that on several occasions our Canadian friends have come close to throwing us under the bus", Arturo Sarukhan, the former Mexican ambassador to the USA, said at a NAFTA-related event Wednesday in D.C.
As many as 50,000 workers at auto parts suppliers could lose their jobs due to increased tariffs if the US pulls out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to a study released Thursday by the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, which lobbies for suppliers in Washington.
Trump on Wednesday repeated his warnings that he might terminate the pact and said he was open to doing a bilateral deal with either Canada or Mexico if three-way negotiations fail. Trump made revamping or ending NAFTA - which he has called "a awful deal for our country" - a core pillar of his election campaign as he promised more benefits for United States workers in worldwide trade deals.
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"There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal", he said in a speech delivered in Mexico. Both leaders are keen to see talks succeed. But some agricultural products would be slapped with with far higher duties, including a 25% hike on shipments of beef, 45% on turkey, 75% on chicken, potatoes and high fructose corn syrup sent to Mexico from the US.
"I think it's been clear that circumstances are often challenging, and we have to be ready for anything and we are", Trudeau said.
Oil prices have suffered from data released late Wednesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API) showing a surprise build in U.S. crude inventories and gained little from a report by the International Energy Agency, released Thursday, suggesting the global oil market will be in balance next year despite rising output.
But there is still some uncertainty whether Trump is deploying tough negotiating bluster or is seriously considering scuppering the agreement.
"The comedy show is unfolding in Washington, there's no question about it", he said. "We have always understood that draining the swamp would be controversial in Washington".