Trump suggests Canada sidelined from latest NAFTA talks

The flags of Canada Mexico and the U.S. are seen on a lectern before a joint news conference on the closing of the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City

Top US Trade Official Hopes for NAFTA 'Breakthrough' in Days

As Mexican officials were gathered in Washington for talks with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Trump said at a cabinet meeting, "if you can't make the right deal, don't make it".

U.S. President Donald Trump is suggesting Canada has deliberately been left on NAFTA's sidelines as one-on-one talks heat up between Washington and Mexico.

Trump himself said he was in "no rush" to conclude the talks, repeating his oft-stated complaint that the 24-year-old trade agreement had been a "disaster" for the United States. We want to make the right deal.

Guajardo was joined by Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, Mexico's chief Nafta negotiator Kenneth Smith, and Jesus Seade, the designated chief trade negotiator of incoming Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Last week, Trump tweeted that negotiations with Mexico were "coming along nicely".

The U.S. team's insistence on making tariff-free market access under NAFTA conditional on higher regional auto content and certain wage level requirements for auto industry workers has been a particular stumbling block at the talks.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer gestures as he testifies before Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the proposed budget estimates and justification for FY2019 for the Office of the United States Trade Representative, at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2018. Government officials close to the process feel like the negotiations between the USA and Mexico have been building momentum in recent weeks, and expect the bilateral talks to continue for the next couple of weeks.

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And Trump again aimed a jibe at Canada, saying "Their tariffs are too high".

USA negotiations with Mexico are set to continue Thursday afternoon.

Tensions between Canada and the USA also rose June 1 when the US ended an exemption for Canada, Mexico and the European Union from 25 percent steel and 10 percent aluminum tariffs imposed for national security reasons under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Mexico's new president, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, was elected in July and takes the oath of office December 1.

Guajardo has stressed that the most hard issues had been left to the end, including the USA demand that NAFTA be approved every five years, a provision known as a sunset clause.

Even if Canada signs on by month's end and there's a three-way preliminary agreement, in the U.S., that would only begin a lengthy process that includes a period of public review and economic assessment by the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Lawyer Ujczo said those changes and a broader deal on NAFTA will play very well to Trump's base.

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