OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau says he abandoned a proposed meeting with Donald Trump in Washington this week after the White House insisted that the prime minister first agree to a five-year “sunset clause” in a renegotiated NAFTA.
Trudeau told the anecdote today during a media briefing where he and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland were outlining the Canadian response to punishing U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
With the NAFTA talks close to a possible breakthrough, Trudeau says he suggested to the U.S. president last Friday that they sit down with Mexico’s Enrique Pena Nieto and talk about reaching a deal.
He says Trump seemed to like the idea.
Then on Tuesday, Vice-President Mike Pence called to say the White House would host the meeting — but only if the prime minister agreed to the sunset clause, long a major sticking point in the talks.
Trudeau says that idea remains “totally unacceptable” to Canada, so the idea of the meeting was abandoned.
The Canadian Press