VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Uncertainty around the upcoming NAFTA deadline and an awkward moment with U.S. President Donald Trump took the spotlight, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrapped up his visit to the United Nations.
The U.S. has been talking about moving forward on a NAFTA deal with Mexico and leaving Canada out in the cold. But Trudeau insists an agreement is still possible.
“We will keep working as long as it takes to get to the right deal for Canada,” said Trudeau.
There are just days to go before the latest U.S.-imposed deadline.
“We will keep working on a broad range of alternatives. A broad range of paths are ahead of us. We’re going to keep focusing on trying to get to the right deal for Canadians,” added Trudeau.
He did not go into specifics, but did note he’s received assurances from the president that there will be no steel and auto tariffs if a NAFTA deal is struck.
Meanwhile, Trudeau is downplaying what some viewed as an awkward handshake with Trump.
As Trudeau circled a table, chatting with other world leaders, he had to touch Trump’s shoulder to get his attention. Trump stayed seated, as they had a brief exchange and shook hands, but later stood up for interactions with th e leaders of Mexico and Egypt.
“I don’t think there’s anything to read into it,” said Trudeau to reporters at the UN.
“An interaction — like so many are in UN — quick but cordial.”
Trudeau said it wasn’t the right time for a chat, since he caught the president while he was reading notes before a toast he was about to give.