'Heated rhetoric' expected during NAFTA talks, Canadian officials say
Published Wednesday, August 23, 2017 11:05AM EDT
OTTAWA -- Canadian officials say they expect "moments of heated rhetoric" during trade talks, in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's threat Tuesday night to cancel NAFTA.
Senior government officials, however, say the threat has come sooner in the process than they expected.
Canada, the U.S. and Mexico just last weekend wrapped up the initial round of talks to modernize the three-country trade agreement, but Trump told a rally of supporters in Phoenix, Ariz. that "personally, I don't think we can make a deal because we have been so badly taken advantage of.
"They have made such great deals -- both of the countries, but in particular Mexico -- that I don't think we can make a deal," Trump said Tuesday.
Trump has threatened before to kill NAFTA if he can't get a better deal for Americans, although he's also said the deal simply needs "tweaking."
A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada's economic ties with the United States are "key to middle class jobs and growth on both sides of the border."
"Trade negotiations often have moments of heated rhetoric. Our priorities remain the same, and we will continue to work hard to modernize NAFTA, supporting millions of middle class jobs," Adam Austen said in a written statement.
"We will work with our partners at all levels in the United States to promote Canada-U.S. trade, which support millions of jobs across the continent."