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Freeland hails Trump's 'sensible' suggestion of NAFTA talks extension

Freeland hails Trump's 'sensible' suggestion of NAFTA talks extension
From CBC - January 12, 2018

A string of calming comments from U.S. President Donald Trump about NAFTA has proponents of the agreement breathing some relief that his trigger finger is far from the button that would blow up the deal.

He made about a half-dozen of them to The Wall Street Journal.

A transcript of the interview shows Trump saying of the negotiations: "We are moving along nicely," "There's no rush," "I am leaving it a little flexible," "We have a chance of making a reasonable deal," "We have made a lot of headway."

He said the benefits of a new NAFTA would pay for his proposed border wall with Mexico, while expressing understanding that it's tough for Mexico to negotiate during its election.

He still repeated his threat to cancel the agreement if he ca not get a better deal. But proponents from the Canadian and Mexican governments and NAFTA-supporting stakeholders in the U.S. all see this as positive.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said at a Liberal cabinet retreat in London, Ont., that Trump's newfound patience on NAFTA renegotiations is "sensible" and "constructive."

She said Canada had always taken the position that it's not helpful to impose artificial deadlines on the talks, such as the current schedule of rounds set to end in March. She added that Canada is prepared to spend as much time as it takes to get a good deal.

'The situation's completely escalated'

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