Canada’s PM talks tough on NAFTA, repeats he could walk away

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the crowd during a town hall meeting at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, February 2, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 03 February 2018

Canada’s PM talks tough on NAFTA, repeats he could walk away

NANAIMO, British Columbia: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a tough line on NAFTA on Friday, repeating that he could walk away if he was not happy with talks to modernize a pact the United States contends needs major changes.
“The negotiations are complex and challenging ... I’ve said many times, we are not going to take any old deal,” Trudeau told a sometimes raucous town hall event in the Pacific province of British Columbia. “Canada is willing to walk away from NAFTA if the United States proposes a bad deal.”
“We will not be pushed around. At the same time we can remain confident about NAFTA,” he said, adding that if Washington walked away from the deal it would be “extremely harmful and disruptive” to both the United States and Canada.
Canada and Mexico are striving to address US demands for NAFTA reform, which they argue threaten the highly integrated North American economy.
On Monday, a senior US trade official rejected proposals for unblocking the negotiations but pledged to seek “breakthroughs,” easing concerns that Washington would soon withdraw from the $1.2 trillion North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trudeau said he did not think US President Donald Trump would pull out of NAFTA, despite slow progress at the talks.
During the town hall event Trudeau was interrupted by hecklers angry that his Liberal government approved a plan by Kinder Morgan Canada to increase the capacity of an oil pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia.
Police removed at least three demonstrators, who complained the risk of a spill was too great to allow the project to continue. Trudeau repeated that the pipeline would be built.


Ex-PM May attacks ‘reckless’ UK Brexit plan

Updated 16 min 23 sec ago

Ex-PM May attacks ‘reckless’ UK Brexit plan

  • May, whose 2016-2019 premiership was derailed by the tortuous Brexit process, said the draft law would “lead to untold damage to the United Kingdom’s reputation”
  • Johnson has argued it will provide a “safety net” against what he has claimed are EU threats to impose tariffs on UK internal trade

LONDON: Britain’s former prime minister Theresa May said Monday she would not support the government’s new Brexit legislation, which will break international law, accusing the government of acting “recklessly and irresponsibly.”
May, whose 2016-2019 premiership was derailed by the tortuous Brexit process, said the draft law would “lead to untold damage to the United Kingdom’s reputation.”
“As a result, with regret, I have to tell the minister I cannot support this bill,” she told fellow MPs as the proposed legislation underwent scrutiny in parliament.
The UK Internal Market Bill unveiled earlier this month would override parts of the Brexit treaty struck by May’s successor Boris Johnson with the European Union last year.
Ministers have admitted it would breach international law.
British lawmakers voted last week to allow the draft law to proceed for further scrutiny despite EU calls for it to be withdrawn.
Numerous MPs from the ruling Conservatives cautioned against adopting the most contentious measures in the legislation, but only two ended up voting against it while 29 abstained — including May.
Lawmakers will vote again on the bill on Tuesday next week before it goes to the House of Lords for weeks of further scrutiny.
Johnson has argued it will provide a “safety net” against what he has claimed are EU threats to impose tariffs on UK internal trade and even stop food going from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland.
But EU leaders have dismissed this as spin and warned Johnson to uphold commitments he made in the Brexit treaty last year and withdraw the offending parts of the new bill by the end of the month.
The row threatens to disrupt already tough post-Brexit trade negotiations, fueling growing fears of failure that would see more than four decades of EU-UK integration come to a crashing halt at the end of this year.
Britain left the EU in January but remains bound by the rules of the 27-member bloc until December 31.