World

Trudeau ‘Encouraged’ Despite Being Locked Out Of NAFTA Talks

REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

The Trudeau government put a positive spin on being apparently left out of NAFTA talks for the past few weeks. As CBC News reports, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters he was “encouraged” by recent developments that saw the U.S. sign a tentative bilateral trade deal with Mexico.

“We have been encouraged by the progress made by our NAFTA partners over the past weeks. This is an important step to moving forward on renegotiating and improving NAFTA,” Trudeau said at news conference Tuesday just outside of Montreal.

“The team in Washington is digging into the progress made and looking at what the next steps are. We will engage in a positive and constructive way, as we always have been, and look forward to ultimately signing a deal, as long as it’s good for Canada and good for middle-class Canadians,” Trudeau said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland reiterated that enthusiasm Tuesday, telling reporters in Washington that “what has really paved the way for what Canada believes will be a good week is the fact that Mexico has made some significant concessions, particularly in the area of labour and of rules of origin on cars.”

But Trudeau isn’t budging on an issue that President Donald Trump has consistently insisted is a sticking point for the United States: supply management for dairy farmers that keeps the price of products high and foreign exports out.

“We will defend supply management,” he said.

That didn’t sit well with Trump economic advisor Larry Kudlow, who told Fox News Tuesday that the United States is looking for a “good deal” that addresses the supply management concerns.

“I don’t want to walk-through all the paragraphs and the Canadian issues, but obviously we’ve had trouble with milk and dairy products. And some of that dairy stuff I think is 290-to-300-percent tariffs,” Kudlow told CNBC.

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