OTTAWA — With the release of the text of the U.S.-Mexico trade agreement expected Friday, the political pressure is mounting on Canada to join a new North American Free Trade Agreement.
Analysts and insiders say the latest American-imposed deadline for Canada to join by Monday is not set in stone, and that there is still time for the Liberal government to negotiate with the Trump administration after that.
But they caution the window is closing and Canada’s time may be running out.
Mexico and the United States announced their own bilateral deal last month, sparking a renewed round of negotiations between Washington and Ottawa to bring to bring Canada into the NAFTA fold.
The release of the formal text will come ahead of its formal presentation to U.S. Congress by month’s end, so the lawmakers can approve it by Dec. 1 before the new Mexican government takes power.
U.S. President Donald Trump says he will pursue a trade deal with or without Canada, and has repeatedly threatened to impose punitive tariffs on Canadian automobiles if a trilateral deal can’t be reached.
Trump has already imposed hefty steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico, using a section of U.S. trade law that gives him the authority to do that for national security reasons.
The Trudeau government has branded the 232 tariffs illegal and insulting given the close security relationship between Canada and the U.S., including their shared membership in Norad, which defends North American airspace.
The Canadian Press