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

Getting your passport has been made easier

Government of Canada doubles number of locations where Canadians can get their passports

Police officer assaulted during traffic stop

Chasetin Morin of Red Deer faces several charges

Live nativity pageant takes place Dec. 18th to 20th

Outdoor pageant takes place in the evening at 7, 7:30 and 8 p.m. at 8 Keast Way

Toronto Furies beat Calgary Inferno on the inaugural Female Hockey Day

Young girls had the opportunity to meet and learn from their female hockey idols

The Red Deer Housing Authority appoints new CAO

Franklin Kutuadu will take over duties Feb. 1st

Story of the Year: Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

‘A stronger Alberta:’ Ottawa announces $1.6B for Canada’s oil and gas sector

Price of Alberta oil plummeted so low that Alberta’s Premier said Canada was practically giving it away

Canadians to get low-cost data-only mobile phone plans within 90 days: CRTC

Bell, Rogers and Telus will provide plans as cheap as 250MB for $15

Four per cent of Canadian women report being sexually harassed in the workplace

One per cent of men report being sexually harassed in the workplace

Stricter drunk driving laws to take effect across Canada today

It gives police officers the right to ask for a breath sample from any driver they lawfully stop

The prize was wrong: Man turns down trip to Manitoba

A New Hampshire man won the prize on “The Price is Right”, but turned it down because the taxes were too high

B.C. securities regulator probes ‘most expansive’ alleged trading scheme in its history

Liht Cannabis Corp states it’s doing internal investigation, welcomes BC Securities Commission probe

Air passenger rights: 6 things about what the Liberals are offering

For 3- to 6-hour delays, compensation is $400. Between 6 and 9 hours, $700. Over 9 hours is $1,000

Missouri poacher ordered to repeatedly watch ‘Bambi’

Sentence comes from one of the largest deer poaching cases in state history

Most Read