WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is getting “very, very close” to having to move forward on its trade deal with Mexico without Canada, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said on Friday.
There is just over a week to go before a U.S.-imposed Oct. 1 deadline to publish the text of a deal to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the United States and Canada have still not agreed on terms, Hassett told Fox News Channel.
“We’re still talking to Canada, and we’re getting very, very close to the deadline where we’re going to have to move ahead with Mexico all by themselves,” said Hassett, who chairs the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
Washington reached a bilateral trade deal with Mexico in late August and is threatening to exclude Canada if need be.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland left Washington on Thursday after two days of inconclusive talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Asked for a reaction to Hassett’s comments, a Freeland spokesman pointed to her repeated comments that Canada “will not be driven by a deadline but by reaching a good deal”.