Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly asked Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to intervene with President Donald Trump and help Canada remain in NAFTA.
As CBC News reports, Lopez Obrador received a call from Trudeau on Thursday night asking him “to intervene and call on the U.S. government to reach and agreement” to keep Canada in the trilateral trade deal.
”We agreed to that,” Lopez Obrador told reporters Friday. He also said Mexico believes NAFTA should stay intact as a three-nation treaty.
Earlier this week, Trump trashed Canada for not moving on its dairy tariff and said he wasn’t fond of its chief trade negotiator, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. He also said he had turned down a request from Trudeau to meet and discuss the stalled NAFTA talks while the two leaders were at the United Nations building in New York. Trudeau denied he asked Trump for a meeting but apparently believes Mexico has Trump’s ear. (RELATED: Trump Says He Rejected Trudeau Meeting — Trudeau Says He Didn’t Ask)
In Canada, the Prime Minster’s Office confirmed that a call took place between Trudeau and Lopez Obrador where they “agreed to work closely together to further strengthen the dynamic partnership between Canada and Mexico” and “discussed NAFTA and the mutually beneficial economic and trading relationship between our two countries.”
Lopez Obrador told reporters that trade negotiations between Mexico and the U.S. have been finalized but that is not the case with Canada, where “negotiation is not closed.” He takes office on Dec. 1.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has previously stated that the U.S. needs a deal with Mexico signed before the current president leaves office — but Lopez Obrador clearly contradicted that claim.
The Trudeau government continues to maintain an official line that talks are progressing but Canada will not be coerced into signing anything that is not “good for Canadians.”
“We are in a very tough negotiation with the United States over NAFTA … there is no deadline on this. As far as we are concerned we want a deal that is good for Canadians and that’s the bottom line,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau said in the House of Commons in Ottawa.