What's ahead for Canada's trade relationships as U.S. focuses on China
President Donald Trump said he may prioritize a bilateral trade deal with Mexico over Canada and that he’s building a good rapport with Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
The U.S. and Mexico are “getting closer” to reaching a trade deal, and the administration may advance separate talks with Canada later, Trump told reporters at the start of a cabinet meeting in Washington on Wednesday. The president added that he and newly elected Lopez Obrador are “doing great.”
The Mexican peso reversed Wednesday’s losses and advanced to a session high of 18.8264 per dollar after Trump’s comments.
Trump said earlier this year he may break up talks for a new North American Free Trade Agreement into separate tracks with Canada and Mexico. The three countries have failed to nail down a deal to revamp the pact over almost a year of talks, with wide differences remaining over key issues like auto-content rules and a sunset clause.
Top Trump administration officials visited Mexico City last week to meet the current and incoming administrations, providing the first chance for Lopez Obrador to set a tone for U.S.-Mexico ties after the July 1 election. The visitors included Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. Lopez Obrador takes office Dec. 1.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Wednesday said that there’s been “good progress” in talks with Mexico, which are paving a “promising avenue.” He declined to elaborate on specific issues. “We’re having very productive talks with Mexico,” Kudlow said at the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha conference in New York on Wednesday.
--With assistance from Jenny Leonard