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

Ferry connecting Port Hardy and Bella Coola expected to set sail this summer

Its first in-service route will sail in central coast waters on May 18, 2019.

BC Parks Student Ranger Program accepting applications for 2019 season

12 crews of four student rangers will work in regions throughout the province including Bella Coola.

Over $650,00 given to rural communities thanks to Rural Dividends

Five communities, including Williams Lake, are receiving $10,000 for project grants

Pregnant Cariboo firefighter tries to save own house from blaze

Julia Flinton and Anthony Sellars both worked on the 2017 wildfires

Road report for Highway 20

Fog patches and slippery sections; Drive BC

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

RECALL: Salmon Village maple salmon nuggets

Customers warned not to eat product due to possible Listeria contamination

More than 100,000 toxic toys named in Canada-wide recall

Plastic doll contains levels of phthalates over allowable limit and may pose chemical hazard

Most Read