Trump Reiterates Nafta Threat, Linking Talks to Mexico Wall

TOP NEWS: Canada Preparing For US To Pull Out Of NAFTA Trade Deal

Trump: We Can Use NAFTA to Pay for Border Wall

The Canadian dollar weakened to its lowest this year against the greenback on Wednesday as the NAFTA concerns tempered bets that the Bank of Canada will raise interest rates next week.

But in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Thursday, Trump said he would be "a little bit flexible" on the time frame for when a NAFTA deal had to be struck because of the impending Mexican presidential election.

Justin Trudeau's "progressive" trade agenda - the insistence on including gender parity and Aboriginal issues in trade negotiations with the United States - is being cited as a barrier to progress by senior figures in the USA administration, according to people familiar with the matter.

Republicans have also made clear they intend to campaign on economic growth and their tax bill leading up to midterm elections this November, and several GOP lawmakers told TWS they believe pulling out of NAFTA would undermine that campaign strategy.

A fever of speculation has broken out about whether U.S. President Donald Trump might soon announce his intention to withdraw from NAFTA, as the talks enter their most sensitive phase.

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On Wednesday, a government source told AFP that Canada was bracing for the possible imminent USA withdrawal from the tripartite trade pact.

"The U.S. has been very clear since before the talks started that invoking Article 2205 (to withdraw) was a possibility, and I think we need to take our neighbours at their word, take them seriously", Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said before the first of two days of meetings at a cabinet retreat in London, Ont.

Among the issues the three NAFTA partners have been unable to agree on are proposed changes to the chapter on dispute settlement, the inclusion of a so-called "sunset clause" that would subject the deal to review every five years, and the automotive sector trade deficit.

General Motors Co shares fell 2.4 percent.

"We have always said that this is a possibility", a Mexican government source with knowledge of the talks told Reuters, referring to the prospect of a USA withdrawal.

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The U.S. content requirement would decimate the Canadian auto industry, according to Jerry Dias, president of the Unifor trade union.

That means Mexico will essentially have paid for the wall, he said.

While she puts the chances of USA withdrawal at 50-50, "it's too early to throw in the towel on these negotiations", Cutler said. The talks are scheduled to wrap up by the end of March.

Roberts told TWS he warned Trump that getting rid of NAFTA would send shivers throughout the entire farm economy, "and I think we'd see an immediate response in the stock market". -Canada relations and the NAFTA file - was not immediately available for comment.

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