Trump, Trudeau meet at the White House amid new NAFTA talks

Trudeau Apec 20161119

Trudeau meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto during the APEC Summit in Lima Peru in November 2016

Stephen Harper says he believes Donald Trump is genuinely willing to pull the plug on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal", said Thomas Donohue, president of the US Chamber of Commerce, the largest business organisation in the United States.

Trump is welcoming Trudeau to the Oval Office at the start of a new round of talks over NAFTA.

The former Conservative leader, who's known as an ardent free trader, says powerful anti-trade forces that predate Trump's presidency are at play in American society and aren't going away anytime soon.

Videgaray said leaving NAFTA would increase tariffs by an average of about 3.5 percent for the 44 percent of Mexican exports that use NAFTA trade preferences.

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It wasn't clear whether the change in the prime minister's NAFTA message was a direct result of his meeting with the US president, someone he acknowledged "makes decisions that surprise people sometimes".

Mexico's cattle industry, which exports almost US$9 billion worth of product a year to the United States, took a similar stand Tuesday. But repeating the "ready for anything" sentiment multiple times suggests a conscious decision to acknowledge that the outcome of the talks may not go Canada's way.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray warned that an end to NAFTA would mark a breaking point in US-Mexican relations and affect bilateral co-operation in non-trade areas.

"So saying, we are ready for anything and we will continue to work diligently to protect Canadian interests, to stand up for jobs, and look for opportunities for Canadian business and citizens of all of our friends and neighbour countries to do well".

"An abrupt exit from NAFTA would be more of a loss for US exporters than for Mexican ones", he said. USA -based Boeing alleges that Bombardier gets unfair subsidies from the Canadian and British governments.

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