Trudeau, Trump discuss accelerating NAFTA talks at G7

Quebec: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Donald Trump discussed accelerating the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA) talks during a bilateral meeting at the ongoing G7 summit here.

“The Prime Minister and the President had a very positive, productive meeting and it lasted longer than originally scheduled,” CBC News quoted a senior Candian government official as saying on Friday.

“They did discuss NAFTA at length and they discussed the future of NAFTA, and I would say they also talked about accelerating the talks.”

Speaking after the meeting with Trudeau, Trump said he had a positive meeting with the Canadians during which NAFTA was the principal topic of discussion.

“We had a very positive meeting a little while ago on NAFTA. So this is turning out to be an interesting day. But we had a very, very good meeting on NAFTA with Justin and his representatives,” Trump said.

The reportedly positive tone of the leaders’ one-on-one meeting stood in stark contrast to a week of increasingly testy public statements by Trump, following Canada’s announcement last week that it would impose $16.6 billion in tariffs against US products on July 1 in retaliation against the American tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminium.

Trump’s only other bilateral meeting on Friday was with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, CBC News reported.

Like Trudeau, Trump has sparred publicly with Macron on Twitter over what the US President calls unfair trade deals that impoverish American interests to the benefit of its allies.

But on the tariffs, the leaders sounded a bit optimistic on Friday.

“We had a very direct and open discussion,” Macron told reporters Friday of his one-on-one with Trump.

“And I saw the willingness on all the sides to find agreements and have a win-win approach for our people, our workers, and our middle classes.”

Besides the bilateral meetings, the G7 leaders took part in two working groups where discussion of trade was front and centre.

Before leaving for the summit, Trump called for reinstating Russia into the group of top industrialised nations after its expulsion for annexing Crimea, reports the BBC.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said all the European Union members were against the idea.

Trump will the two-day summit early to head to Singapore for his landmark summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.