Justin Trudeau assured US television that the imposition of tariffs by the Americans did not force his hand to reach an agreement on the new free trade agreement, contrary to what the US president claims.
“On the contrary, we have always been open to negotiating a new, modernized NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] from the outset,” said the Canadian Prime Minister in an interview with a CNN news reporter. .
US President Donald Trump recently claimed that he was able to negotiate the deal because of his hard-core tactics, including the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum. “Without the tariffs, we would not talk about an agreement,” he said.
Last spring, the administration of President Donald Trump hit Canada with surcharges of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum. Ottawa had replied on 1 st July with similar surcharges on these products, as well as adding customs duty of 10% on a variety of products.
During the same interview, Mr. Trudeau also did not rule out the possibility of Canada signing the new Free Trade Agreement, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (SCMTA), even though President Trump do not raise these rates.
However, the new free trade agreement must be ratified by the elected representatives of the three countries, after the agreement in principle reached in the last weeks between the three governments.
Mexico has already indicated that it does not intend to ratify it as long as US tariffs are in force.
“We are continuing to work to raise tariffs. But we are not at the point where we say we will not sign if they are not up. That said, we try to convince them of this, “said Prime Minister Trudeau.
Pressed by the reporter, Mr. Trudeau responded that he was not negotiating in public.
“Fees are hurting American businesses,” said the Prime Minister. We continue to argue from facts, not emotions or insults. “