President Trump said Wednesday at a news conference that he turned down a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss the stalled NAFTA talks.
“His tariffs are too high and he doesn’t seem to want to move, so I told him, ‘forget about it,’” Trump said.
But Trudeau’s office suggested that Trump wasn’t telling the truth, saying Wednesday night that “no meeting was requested” between the Canadian prime minister and the president.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office curtly rejected Trump’s version of events to CTV News, saying “no meeting was requested.”
“We don’t have any comment beyond that,” the statement said.
Trump also informed reporters that he doesn’t like working with Canada’s chief trade negotiator, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.
“We’re thinking about taxing cars coming in from Canada,
he said. “We don’t like their representative very much.”
That blunt assessment flies in the face of Freeland’s talking points for the media that describe the talks as “positive.”
Trump said he had “many friends in Canada” but said trade deals weren’t about personal feelings. He praised Mexico for being “totally great” in trade talks.
The president said, “I don’t like NAFT” but did champion his bilateral trade deal with Mexico that he says he hopes will be passed by Congress.
Trump reiterated his primary trade concern with Canada: its maintenance of a supply management system that protects the Canadian dairy industry with a 300 percent tariff.
“How do you sell a dairy product at 300 percent?”