Trump's Canadian envoy Kelly Craft says US respects Chrystia Freeland

U.S. President Donald Trump sits behind his desk as he announces a bilateral trade agreement with Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement at the White House in Washington U.S

U.S. President Donald Trump sits behind his desk as he announces a bilateral trade agreement with Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement at the White House in Washington U.S

The Trump administration is expected to release the text of its trade agreement with Mexico as early as Friday, launching a contentious congressional approval process as it tries to coax Canada into a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trudeau's office didn't respond to requests Wednesday and Thursday about whether the prime minister sought sideline discussions with the president.

Trudeau, who was standing, tapped Trump's shoulder to greet him.

"We're focused on the substance, not the timetable". "If the government listened to everything the Trump team said about the negotiations we'd never get anything done", said one source with direct knowledge of Ottawa's stance.

'There is no fatal date, there is still time to reach a deal, ' he told a press conference earlier Friday. The 1994 deal underpins $1.2 trillion in annual trade between Canada, Mexico and the United States. The U.S. had given Canada until Sunday to join the new deal or watch as the U.S. and Mexico went ahead without it.

FILE PHOTO: A commercial truck with a Canada, United States and Mexico flag on its side is seen crossing over the Ambassador Bridge into Windsor, Ontario from Detroit, Michigan U.S. August 29, 2018.

"If it doesn't happen by the end of the week, we'll just keep working away and trying to get the best deal for Canada", David MacNaughton told a Toronto event arranged by Politico Canada.

The remarks by Trump, who repeated a threat to impose tariffs on Canadian autos, knocked the Canadian dollar down to a one-week low against the US greenback.

However, multiple deadlines have already been broken during the drawn-out attempt to renegotiate the trilateral deal since Trump demanded it be re-worked on the grounds that the 1994 NAFTA pact caused the loss of USA manufacturing jobs. He said both that there's a "good chance still" that the USA and Canada will reach a deal, but also that "probably or possibly" they won't. -Mexican deal or Washington and Ottawa could reach their own bilateral arrangement, according to trade experts.

But the ensuing talks to incorporate Canada have stumbled.

'Canadians are tough negotiators, as we should be, ' Trudeau fired back. "The end could be this weekend, or it may not be", said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive negotiations.

"The Americans are finding that the negotiations are tough, because Canadians are tough negotiators, as we should be, but a good and fair deal is still very possible", Trudeau said, speaking with reporters on his way into a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill.

WASHINGTON-Canada and the US have been engaged in "intense" NAFTA talks all week, a Canadian official said Friday, as they strived to reach a deal before the USA and Mexico started an official countdown to the possible signing of a deal that does not include Canada.

"The notion of countries signing a trade agreement at different times is not new", said Lori Wallach, head of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.

The United States and Mexico are expected to release text of a bipartisan trade deal the two countries reached last month, setting up a potential showdown with Canada and U.S. Congress over the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The publishing of the text starts a months-long process for Congressional approval that will require a lengthy analysis study by the independent US global Trade Commission and a series of notification periods before an up-or-down vote can occur.

The U.S. exported more goods to Canada previous year than to China, Japan and Germany combined.

"There is no deadline on this, as far as we are concerned, we want a deal that is good for Canadians, and that's the bottom line", Marc Garneau, who also chairs the cabinet committee on USA -relations, says.

"That's going to make it very hard to sell a deal at home".

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