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Trump open to bilateral trade pacts

Reuters
Friday, October 13, 2017

WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was open to bilateral trade pacts with either Canada or Mexico if a three-way deal cannot be reached to substantially revise the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Asked by a reporter if he could envision maintaining free trade with Canada if NAFTA talks sour with Mexico, Mr Trump said: "Oh sure, absolutely.

"It's possible we won't be able to reach a deal with one or the other, but in the meantime we'll make a deal with one."

Mr Trump's comments came at a White House meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was in Washington to promote NAFTA's benefits as a new round of renegotiations began near Washington.

Asked about Mr Trump's comments at a news conference later, Mr Trudeau said he was still optimistic about the chances of modernising the 1994 trade pact.

"I continue to believe in NAFTA ... so saying, we are ready for anything, and we will continue to work diligently to protect Canadian interests," he said.

Mr Trudeau said Canada was well aware of Mr Trump's unpredictability.

"That is certainly something that we are very much aware of and very braced for and conscious of but at the same time, Canadians expect us to work in a thoughtful, meaningful way towards getting a good deal."








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