Trudeau, Trump discussed bringing NAFTA talks to conclusion: PM’s office

Source: By Leah Schnurr, Reuters • Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2018

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday discussed the possibility of bringing talks over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to a “prompt conclusion”, Trudeau’s office said.

President Trump underscored the importance of quickly concluding an agreement, the White House said.

Pressure to reach a deal increased last week after U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said he needed to be notified of a new NAFTA by May 17 to give the current U.S. Congress a chance of passing it.

Senior officials from the United States, Canada and Mexico failed last Friday to reach a deal on the trade pact after a week of negotiations.

Nonetheless, Trudeau and Trump discussed the progress being made in the NAFTA talks, the prime minister’s office said. Trump has repeatedly threatened to walk away from the trade agreement.

The two leaders also discussed geopolitical issues, including developments in the Middle East, the office said. Earlier on Monday, Israeli troops shot dead dozens of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border as the United States opened its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Grant McCool and Phil Berlowitz