Freeland hails Trump's 'sensible' suggestion of NAFTA talks extension

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Be it a threat, or intention, if President Donald Trump starts the withdrawal process from the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico will drop the trade pact.

Trump also told the Journal that he was prepared to pull out of NAFTA altogether if the U.S., Canada and Mexico are unable to reach a fair deal, which he called a "Trump deal". The comments made Wednesday sparked fear in global markets and a devaluation of both the Canadian dollar and the Mexican peso. Under the agreement, the U.S., Mexico and Canada can withdraw after giving six-months' notice.

The Canadian dollar fell 0.9% to $1.2574 against the greenback at 3:05 p.m.in Toronto. It will be a positive sign if negotiators can close more chapters and agree to a way ahead on the most contentious issues, she said. The peso was trading down more than 0.6 pct at 1925 GMT, while the S&P/BM IPC stock index was down about 1.7 per cent.

The three countries have been renegotiating the deal at the behest of Trump, who regards the pact as having disadvantaged the U.S. economy.

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Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland on Tuesday reinforced her commitment to seeing the trade negotiations through to a successful end.

Trade relations between the two countries have taken a dramatic turn this week, with Canada escalating its trade spat with the United States by filing a complaint over American duties against Canada and other countries. We are friends, we are allies and we are partners.

"We are focused on achieving real progress, including in Montreal‎ later this month."

Trump added he would kill NAFTA altogether if the parties involved can not come up with a solution that is more beneficial to the USA than it now is. Negotiations are due to wrap up at the end of March.

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