Mexico will never pay for Trump wall - economy minister

NAFTA negotiations are on the ropes

Advertisment Federal bureaucrats in Ottawa have been instructed to prepare for the end of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as talks aimed at modernizing the 24-year-old trade agreement continue to be fractious and hard, according to various news reports.

"Our approach from the start has been to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, so Canada is prepared for every eventuality", Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, according to local media.

"I think the American colleagues understand when you stand strong in sending a message that said, 'We will stand up for the forest industry, we will stand up for the aerospace industry, we'll stand up for Canadian workers", Champagne said.

As Canada prepares for a possible US pullout from NAFTA, it will continue an aggressive outreach plan that includes meetings with state governors and lawmakers in Washington.

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Ministers from Canada, Mexico and the United States will hold a special meeting to tackle some of the toughest issues in negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a top private-sector adviser to the Mexican government said Thursday. "If we don't make the right deal, I will terminate NAFTA, OK".

"I'm leaving it a little bit flexible because they have an election coming up", he said, though he also repeated his threat to walk away from the agreement.

"Things are sounding increasingly ominous", he said. The complaint challenges Washington's use of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties.

Mexico has threatened to withdraw from the negotiations if the US invokes the provision. A party's withdrawal takes effect six months after it provides written notice to the other member countries - Canada and Mexico.

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The three countries are close to concluding chapters on "bread-and-butter" issues, the minister said, but disagreements remain over what she described as "unconventional" and "extreme" positions from the American side.

Among the most divisive are plans to establish rules of origin for NAFTA goods that would set minimum levels of USA content for autos, a sunset clause that would terminate the trade deal if it is not renegotiated every five years, and ending the so-called Chapter 19 dispute mechanism.

"It's time to broach the toughest issues in Montreal", said Castanon.

Neither Freeland nor Finance Minister Bill Morneau would discuss what preparations the government is making for the potential end of NAFTA.

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