Mexican economy minister: Mexico will never pay for Trump wall

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks to the media as she arrives for the first day of a cabinet retreat in London Ont. Thursday

Citing government sources, Reuters this week reported that Canadian officials - who are set to resume renegotiation talks this month - are growing increasingly concerned that the USA plans to withdraw from the 24-year-old agreement.

The news broke as the cabinet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began gathering in the southwestern Ontario town of London ahead of a scheduled two-day meeting where NAFTA is one of the items on the agenda.

Canada is upset at US tariffs imposed on imports of Canadian softwood lumber, newsprint and an nearly 300 percent duty on Canadian aerospace Bombardier CSeries aircraft.

Freeland said the WTO filing is about the "unfair and unjustified" tariffs imposed, and is "on a quite separate track from the NAFTA negotiations".

And it sparked concern among trade experts that it will only antagonize U.S. President Donald Trump and increase the already high likelihood that he'll pull the plug on NAFTA.

Trump added he would kill NAFTA altogether if the parties involved can not come up with a solution that is more beneficial to the US than it now is.

It's not yet clear whether Canada will make its pitch in a formal document or raise it in conversations, with the goal of updating the proposal with US and Mexican input. That is no secret.

"What we're trying to do is make sure that we get to a situation where we have a strong agreement that will ensure our economic security", he said.

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As Freeland said, Ottawa is looking for compromise and hoping for the best, while defending the national interest.

"And so Canada is prepared for every eventuality".

The three nations are close to concluding chapters on "bread and butter" issues, the minister said, but disagreements remain over what the minister described as "unconventional" and "extreme" positions from the American side.

"We've been talking with Canadian stakeholders and we have some new ideas that we look forward to talking with our USA and Mexican counterparts about in Montreal".

"When it comes to the more unconventional USA proposals, we have been doing some creative thinking", she said.

He insisted that NAFTA was a bad deal for the United States and said that "nothing's changed" about his campaign promise to renegotiate the deal.

"I understand that a lot of things are hard to negotiate prior to an election", he said. Or does it include R & D - the stuff that makes it take five years to bring a vehicle to the assembly line - the stuff people would be paying for if you sold off GM.

In a letter previous year sent to the governors of NY and Wisconsin, the Canadian ambassador to Washington, David MacNaughton, cited data showing dairy trade between the countries benefits the U.S.by a five-to-one margin.

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