POLITICS
08/28/2018 17:00 EDT | Updated 08/28/2018 17:15 EDT

Trudeau Touts NAFTA ‘Progress’ While Trump Threatens Auto Tariffs

U.S. and Mexico have announced a deal.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with the Papineau Youth Council on Aug. 28, 2018 in Montreal.
Ryan Remiorz/CP
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with the Papineau Youth Council on Aug. 28, 2018 in Montreal.

LONGUEUIL, Que. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has been encouraged by what he calls the progress made by Canada's NAFTA partners, especially on automobiles.

"This was an important step to moving forward on renegotiating and improving NAFTA," Trudeau said on Tuesday, a day after the United States and Mexico announced a deal that would replace the North America Free Trade Agreement.

"Our team is right now in Washington digging into the progress made and looking at what the next steps are."

The White House wants Canada to endorse what President Donald Trump has described as NAFTA's replacement, by the end of the week.

If Canada declines, Trump has threatened to hit his northern neighbour with automotive tariffs that would cause considerable damage to both economies.

"There's a lot of documents and a lot of texts to dig into in terms of what has been worked on by Mexico and the United States," Trudeau told reporters in Montreal-area Longueuil.

"There has been some very positive progress, particularly on autos."

Trudeau also said he would continue to defend supply management.

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That comment came shortly after U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Larry Kudlow, the director of the president's National Economic Council, said in separate interviews that concessions from Canada on dairy are essential to getting a three-way deal by Friday.

During a brief luncheon speech before a group of insurance representatives, Trudeau focused on the future impact of a new trade agreement on Canadians.

"We're pushing hard to conclude an agreement that is win, win, win — a modern and progressive agreement that is in line with our values and our ambitions and that will benefit not only Canadian businesses but all Canadians," he said.

"If we want to create long-term growth, we can't allow ourselves to neglect or minimize the impact of this type of agreement on Canadian families."

The prime minister said Canada is "determined to conclude an agreement that's equitable for all the concerned parties."