Trudeau heads to Mexico after blunt talk about alternatives to NAFTA

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But Mexico has always been the odd man out in the sense that it is the only developing country in the pact, with wages far lower on average than the other two member-states.

The fate of a deal that underpins $1.2 trillion in annual trade is so uncertain that Trudeau's predecessor, Stephen Harper, warned in his own speech Wednesday that companies should start planning for the U.S.to pull out.

"I think Justin understands this, if we can't make a deal, it will be terminated and that will be fine", the president said.

"There's been huge investments in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, that are long-term assets", said Don Walker, chief executive officer of Magna International Inc. a Canada-based parts maker with more than 25,000 employees in the U.S. "To try and change that would be extremely expensive for the industry".

At the very same moment, Harper's successor, Justin Trudeau, happened to be a few blocks away at the White House, discussing the North American Free Trade Agreement with U.S. President Donald Trump himself.

Accustomed to a presidential wife who knows how to impress with each public appearance, Melania Trump's most recent appearance was simply stunning to watch.

"The new NAFTA Competition Chapter substantially updates the original NAFTA and goes beyond anything the United States has done in previous free trade agreements", the statement reads.

However, the two leaders may have very different ideas about what a successful agreement might look like.

"We are your biggest client", is the message Freeland said Canada will bring to the table.

Boeing has leveled anti-dumping accusations at major Canadian manufacturer Bombardier, which provoked steep countervailing US duties on its new CSeries jetliners.

Ottawa was set to purchase 18 new Super Hornets fighter jets from Boeing until the American aerospace firm successfully petitioned the Trump administration to impose antidumping penalties on its Canadian rival Bombardier over aircraft sold in the US market.

"We have to protect our workers and, in all fairness, the prime minister wants to protect Canada and his people also".

A Canadian government spokesperson says Trudeau was already in Washington for another conference, and did not want to miss an opportunity to meet with the U.S. president. "There was certainly tension between the three head negotiators, led on the U.S. side by USTR Robert Lighthizer".

Some observers don't think the U.S.is trying very hard to work through the challenges. And American trade negotiators are also talking tough on dairy and wine. And that's why having an ongoing, constructive relationship between the President and the Prime Minister is really important.

The current round of talks also will include discussions on financial services, labor rules, agriculture, digital trade, investment and energy, among other issues, according to the agenda.

The government has learned that being friendly with Trump has a high domestic cost but produces few tangible benefits for Mexico, and so has moved to align itself more closely with Mexican popular opinion.

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