Oct. 11 (UPI) — President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touted the “incredibly close” relationship between the two countries as the leaders met to discuss the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement on Wednesday.
Trudeau traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to meet with Trump and other U.S. leaders to push to keep NAFTA in place.
Trump has repeatedly called NAFTA an unfair deal for the United States, and in July he released a plan for renegotiating the 23-year-old agreement.
On Wednesday, Trump called Trudeau “a friend of mine” but said the negotiations ahead of them would be “tough.”
“It’s possible we won’t be able to make a deal, and it’s possible that we will,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office ahead of the meeting. “If we can’t make a deal, it’ll be terminated and that will be fine.”
Trump said he’s been opposed to NAFTA “for a long time” and that the United States needs to protect its workers. He said that if he’s unable to reach an agreement with either Canada or Mexico, he’s not opposed to seeking an agreement with just one of the countries.
Trudeau said the United States and Canada “have an incredibly close relationship” and partnership, but there are “always ways to improve it.
Earlier in the day, Trudeau met with members of the House Ways and Means Committee to make the case for the United States not to abandon NAFTA.
Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., told The Buffalo News that Trudeau was open to changes that would benefit the state’s farms and wineries. He said some U.S. wine transported to Canada is taxed, while Canadian wine brought into the United States isn’t.
“He recognizes that that’s one of the fundamental issues being updated,” Reed said.