Canada not making concessions needed for a NAFTA deal, says U.S.

However Lighthizer said today that if it's not done in time, then Lopez Obrador might want to renegotiate: "If we push it beyond that date then we have a new negotiation with Lopez Obrador and we don't know where that would go at all", he said.

Trump himself has suggested that he might simply abandon talks with Canada if Canada did not join the agreement with Mexico. "Hopefully we'll end up with something with Canada". "We're certainly not going to give up".

Major disagreements remain over Canada's dairy management program, a dispute resolution process and the fate of USA tariffs on metals imports from Canada.

If the remaining gaps can not be bridged in the next few days, the administration will request congressional approval of a deal with Mexico only, Lighthizer said in NY at the Concordia summit, an annual conference on policy issues.

"They (the United States and Mexico) made certain agreements", he said.

"There's still a fair amount of distance between us".


Negotiations aimed at a new agreement have been underway for 13 months, but Canada and the US remain at loggerheads. "There are issues of dairy and Chapter 19", he said.

Canada also has made clear the United States needs to withdraw Trump's threat of a 25 per cent tariff on autos for a deal to be possible.

Mr. Lighthizer also suggested that Canada and Mexico can not expect swift relief on steel and aluminium tariffs, which the US imposed on its NAFTA partners in June. "I think our view is that now we'll turn to that as the next stage".

Whether the USA could actually proceed with a separate bilateral deal with Mexico, absent Canada, is a matter of debate.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday took a cautious line over talks to update NAFTA, saying he saw a possibility that Canada could build on a bilateral deal that the United States and Mexico have already agreed. Congress could, however, choose to accept a two-way deal regardless.

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