Nafta: Donald Trump says United States 'not getting along' with Canada

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With time fast running out ahead of a US -imposed deadline to conclude talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canadian and American negotiators are making slow progress.

Relations between the two neighbours have been strained since Trump assailed Trudeau at the G-7 meeting in June, calling him a "weak" and "dishonest" back-stabber.

Trudeau told reporters that Trump had insisted repeatedly that punitive American tariffs on steel and aluminum won't be an issue under a new North American trade deal.

Mr Trump once again complained about Canada's controlled dairy market, although his comments referred to tariffs that do not apply to U.S. products.

A preliminary trade agreement reached in August by the United States and Mexico would rewrite parts of NAFTA and establish stricter requirements for cars sold in North America to be free of tariffs. Markets and business groups are openly fretting about the damage that a collapse could provoke.

"Canada wants some assurances going forward that the president will not continue to use this, after we sign an agreement, to harass our industries simply because he's mad at our prime minister", the president of the Canadian Labour Congress told BNN Bloomberg television Thursday.

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"The fact is, Canada is not making concessions in areas where we think they're essential", he said at the Concordia Summit in NY. "That's the big one", Trump explained.

Canada has nevertheless rejected the mounting pressure from the USA, and indicated it was possible the countries may fail to conclude a pact.

"We're unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiating style from Canada", he said.

"Frankly, we're thinking about just taxing cars coming in from Canada", Trump said. "We don't like their representative very much", Trump said in an apparent reference to Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, who has been negotiating with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

The prime minister made the comment after being asked about US trade ambassador Robert Lighthizer's recent glum assessment of the talks, which remain deadlocked over issues like dispute resolution, access to Canada's dairy market and the so-called Section 232 tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

A Trump administration official has stated the side deal reached between the U.S. and Mexico is set to be published on Friday.

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Negotiations for possible exemptions for Mexico and Canada from USA steel and aluminum tariffs imposed earlier this year will take place after the new Nafta deal is agreed on, Lighthizer said.

Trump called Mexico "great" as the two countries have come to a trade deal agreement. "If Canada comes along now, that would be the best".

While the talks have been "challenging", the ball is on the USA side of the court, MacNaughton said at an event in Toronto hosted by the US website Politico. Officials in the Prime Minister's Office insisted no such request had been made, given already close contact with the White House. USA crude oil futures settled almost 1 per cent lower at $71.57 a barrel.

He also again threatened to slap auto tariffs on Canada, if a NAFTA deal isn't reached.

USA automakers and congressional aides now believe a deal with Canada is not possible by the deadline, which they said would most likely prompt the United States to move ahead with a bilateral agreement with Mexico.

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