With just hours to go until the Trump-imposed deadline to reach a NAFTA deal between the US and Canada, moments ago Chrystia Freeland poured cold water on hopes of an imminent deal, saying "we are not there yet" on a NAFTA deal.
Below are her comments moments ago to the press after speaking to the USTR , courtesy of Bloomberg
- Freeland says she’ll return to talks at USTR later Friday
- Canadians are good at finding “win-win compromises,” says Freeland, adding “at the end of the day though we are only going to sign a deal that’s good for Canada”
- “In this negotiation we always stand up for the national interest and that’s what we’re going to continue to do”
- Canada is looking for a good deal, “not just any deal,” says Freeland
- Freeland says she agreed with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer at start of the week to refrain from negotiating “specific issues in public”
- Freeland says she jokes with Lighthizer “that we could switch chairs” because they know each others’ positions on the Nafta issues so well
Freeland also said that she would be back later in the day at the USTR for more NAFTA talks, but said she wouldn't discuss specific NAFTA issues in Public:
Trudeau also chimed in skeptically at the same time:
- *TRUDEAU SAYS CANADA WILL ONLY SIGN `GOOD' NAFTA DEAL
- *TRUDEAU SAYS A WIN-WIN-WIN NAFTA DEAL REMAINS POSSIBLE
- *TRUDEAU SAYS NO NAFTA AGREEMENT IS BETTER THAN A BAD ONE
Following the downbeat comments, the loonie slumped to session lows of 1.3080
But the punchline is what the Toronto Star reported earlier, namely that "High-stakes trade negotiations between Canada and the U.S. were dramatically upended on Friday morning by inflammatory secret remarks from President Donald Trump, after the remarks were obtained by the Toronto Star."
In remarks Trump wanted to be “off the record,” Trump told Bloomberg News reporters on Thursday, according to a source, that he is not making any compromises at all in the talks with Canada — but that he cannot say this publicly because “it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal.”
“Here’s the problem. If I say no — the answer’s no. If I say no, then you’re going to put that, and it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal...I can’t kill these people,” he said of the Canadian government.
In another remark he did not want published, Trump said, according to the source, that the possible deal with Canada would be “totally on our terms.” He suggested he was scaring the Canadians into submission by repeatedly threatening to impose tariffs.
“Off the record, Canada’s working their ass off. And every time we have a problem with a point, I just put up a picture of a Chevrolet Impala,” Trump said, according to the source. The Impala is produced at the General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ontario.
The Star is Canada's most widely read publication, so now that the US president has set up the strawman, any possibility of a deal going thru is suddenly looking very slim.