PM defends negotiators after Trump slams Canada

The remarks by Trump, who repeated a threat to impose tariffs on Canadian autos, knocked the Canadian dollar down to a one-week low against the US greenback.

The two leaders have spent little time together since, suggesting that the G7 gathering was a turning point in one of the most important high-level diplomatic relationships in the world.

Trudeau spokeswoman Eleanore Catenaro said in response: "No meeting was requested".

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration recently began increasing the pressure on Canada, urging it to conclude a deal by Sunday or face exclusion from a revised North American Free Trade Agreement.

Mr Trump said he turned down a meeting with the prime minister because he did not like Canada's dairy tariffs. "That's the big one".

Earlier on Wednesday, Trudeau shrugged off USA pressure to quickly agree to a deal and indicated it was possible the three member nations might fail to conclude a new pact.

The trade talks have been deadlocked over issues such as Canada's high dairy tariffs and USA efforts to shield drug companies from generic competition.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Tuesday that negotiators are "sort of running out of time" to include Canada in the trade deal that the U.S. made with Mexico last month. He declined to answer when asked whether Trump had lied.

He lauded U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer's negotiating then turned back to Canada.

"The Americans are finding that the negotiations are tough, because Canadians are tough negotiators, as we should be, but a good and fair deal is still very possible", Trudeau said, speaking with reporters on his way into a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill.

"I still think there is a reasonable probability of a deal this weekend", said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets.

"Canada wants some assurances going forward that the president will not continue to use this, after we sign an agreement, to harass our industries simply because he's mad at our prime minister", the president of the Canadian Labour Congress told BNN Bloomberg television Thursday.

"If it doesn't happen by the end of the week, we'll just keep working away and trying to get the best deal for Canada", David MacNaughton told a Toronto event arranged by Politico Canada.

A spokesperson for Trudeau, however, said this was not true and that Trudeau never sought a meeting with Trump during the NY gathering. Officials in the Prime Minister's Office insisted no such request had been made, given already close contact with the White House. Some U.S. legislators - echoing comments by business leaders - say the agreement must stay a three-nation affair.

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