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Defiant Trump could derail free trade agreement talks

12 October 2017

"I think it's been clear that circumstances are often challenging, and we have to be ready for anything - and we are", Trudeau said.

"We're taking this very seriously and we're taking the importance of standing up for Canadian jobs and Canadian economic growth very seriously, and that goes (for) every economic engagement we have with the Americans".

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017.

The former Conservative leader, who's known as an ardent free trader, says powerful anti-trade forces that predate Trump's presidency are at play in American society and aren't going away anytime soon. "It's possible we won't be able to make a deal and it's possible that we will", Trump said, noting the close relations between the two countries and leaders.

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Mexico's influential Business Coordinating Council has urged the government not to be afraid to walk out on the talks, despite the fact that NAFTA is a cornerstone of the Mexican economy, which sends about 80 per cent of its exports to the United States. "We'll see what happens, we have a tough negotiation".

Asked by a reporter if he would make a trade pact with Canada if he can not reach agreement with Mexico in the NAFTA negotiations, Trump said: "Oh sure, absolutely".

Trudeau is also expected to raise the Trump administration's recent decision to hit Canadian manufacturer Bombardier (bahm-BAHR'-dee-yay) with punishing tariffs on its C Series airliner.

"We have to be prepared to say no, and if necessary to get up from the table and if necessary leave the treaty", Videgaray said, adding, "It would not be the end of the world".

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Indeed, there have been early but unmistakable signs of trouble in the talks, with big business groups expressing fear the quarter-century-old deal could disappear.

The former House speaker and friend of the president says a deal will eventually be reached, after long and hard negotiations. US -based Boeing alleges that Bombardier gets unfair subsidies from the Canadian and British governments.

From there, discussions are scheduled to move onto developing remedies for trade disputes, as well as the contentious issue of agriculture.

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Defiant Trump could derail free trade agreement talks