Canada Draws Line in Trade Dispute with Trump

Trump says will be 'flexible' on NAFTA ahead of Mexico's election: WSJ

NAFTA ministers to hold special meeting on thorniest issues

The president also suggested gains to the US from a revamped NAFTA could be used to pay for a southern border wall, which he has previously called on Mexico to finance.

President Donald Trump reiterated his threat to withdraw the USA from NAFTA while saying that gains from a new deal could be used to pay for a wall at the Mexican border.

Since the earliest days of his presidential campaign, Trump insisted he would build a wall between the US and Mexico as a way to stymie the flow of immigrants - and that Mexico would pay for the project.

Urteaga, who was a member of Mexico's original NAFTA negotiating team in the 1990s, said that Trump's speech was an "interesting signal". "We make a good deal on NAFTA, and, say, I'm going to take a small percentage of that money and it's going toward the wall. Guess what? Mexico's paying", Trump told the outlet. Under spending plans submitted to Congress last week, the Trump administration wants $18 billion over the next 10 years to pay for the wall. However, Trump said he was willing to be "a little bit flexible" about the deal until after Mexico's presidential election in July.

Guajardo wrote on Twitter that the border wall had not been discussed at any time during his meetings with United States officials, nor in the negotiations over how to rework NAFTA.

"The President of Mexico (Enrique Pena Nieto) has been very clear: Mexico will never pay for this wall", Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo wrote on Twitter after a day of meetings in Washington.

"I think it's indisputable that if Trump announces a USA withdrawal from NAFTA, well at that moment the negotiations stop", said Raul Urteaga, head of global trade for Mexico's agriculture ministry.

But while Champagne was talking tough, Freeland said she remains hopeful a new NAFTA deal beneficial to all three countries can be reached.

Freeland said Canada will enter the sixth round of NAFTA talks, to be held in Montreal Jan. 23 to 28, with a spirit of good will, and says it's "absolutely possible" to have a positive outcome.

She said the government is treating the US threat seriously.

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