WASHINGTON— U.S. President Donald Trump says Canada is “very spoiled” on trade and “very difficult to deal with” in North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
Trump said Wednesday that he was “not happy” with what he said were unfair proposals from Canada and Mexico in the ongoing talks to renegotiate the free trade pact. He promised that the U.S. would eventually emerge victorious.
“NAFTA is very difficult. Mexico has been very difficult to deal with. Canada has been very difficult to deal with. They have been taking advantage of the United States for a long time. I am not happy with their requests. But I will tell you, in the end, we win. We will win, and we’ll win big,” he told reporters.
“We’ll get along with Mexico, we’ll get along with Canada. But I will tell you: they have been very difficult to deal with. They’re very spoiled. Because nobody’s done this. But I will tell you that what they ask for is not fair. Our autoworkers are going to be extremely happy.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined to respond directly to Trump’s “spoiled” accusation when asked.
“All negotiations are challenging, and this is obviously something that matters deeply, and we’re going to continue to work very, very hard with our American counterparts on improving and modernizing NAFTA,” Trudeau said.
Trump issued a cryptic Twitter post earlier on Wednesday that appeared to be a reference to the NAFTA talks, which have stalled in part because of major differences between the U.S. and Mexico over the trade rules governing automotive manufacturing.
“There will be big news coming soon for our great American Autoworkers. After many decades of losing your jobs to other countries, you have waited long enough!” Trump wrote.
He would not explain what he meant. But the Wall Street Journal and other U.S. outlets reported later Wednesday that Trump was thinking about imposing a 25 per cent tariff, under supposed national security grounds, on foreign-made cars. Some U.S. analysts viewed the leaked proposal as a NAFTA gambit intended to pressure Mexico to make concessions.
No new NAFTA meetings have been announced for this week. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said top officials from the three countries remain in close contact and have agreed to be available to “jump on a plane and meet anywhere to get this done.”
Trump has previously called Canada “brutal” on trade and “very smooth” in its attempts to convince him of the validity of its trade arguments. Freeland has shrugged off the president’s previous musings.
Earlier this month, Trump has also used “spoiled” to describe China and the European Union on trade.