US Wants to Reach Canada Trade Deal ‘Quickly’
The United States want strike a quick trade with Canada after reaching an agreement with Mexico this week on continent-wide trade, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday.
Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland traveled to Washington to begin talks later Tuesday, 1 day after US President Donald Trump suggested he could cut Ottawa out of any final deal if disagreements persist in the year-long efforts to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“I think our objective is to try to get Canada aboard quickly,” Secretary Mnuchin said in a TV interview.
“The US market and Canadian markets are very intertwined. It’s important for them to get this deal and it’s important for us to get this deal.”
Monday, Washington and Mexico City announced that they had smoothed over disagreements, agreeing to a regular review process to reauthorize the trade deal and higher wages for certain auto workers, among other matters.
Secretary Mnuchin said he is optimistic that Canada could be won over, but, like President Trump, he warned that absent an agreement with Ottawa, Washington could take a bi-lateral route.
“I think we’ll be successful but again, if we don’t, we’ll move forward with Mexico and then we’ll reach a separate agreement with Canada,” Secretary Mnuchin said.
Canadian officials say their country’s signature is “required” for a successful outcome in the NAFTA talks and it remains unclear whether Washington lawmakers would cooperate with efforts to pursue bi-lateral talks instead.
Canada “will only sign a new NAFTA that is good for Canada,” a spokesman for Ms. Freeland said Monday.
Senior GOP lawmakers and industry representatives have insisted this week that a final deal should include all 3 countries.
Secretary Mnuchin went on to say Tuesday that he believes a trade agreement could be reached quickly with the UK, which is in fraught negotiations to exit the EU.
“We are very much ready to do a free trade deal with the UK. So whenever they’re ready, as President Trump has said, they’re at the front of the bus, not the back of the bus,” he said in the interview.
“They are a great ally, they’re a great trading partner in financial services and goods and we welcome more opportunities for US companies.