Mexico takes aim at Trump and U.S. midterm elections

Flags fly over the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu hotel the location for the G7 summit in La Malbaie Quebec

The White House recently confirmed President Trump is considering separate trade deals with Canada and Mexico rather than a new NAFTA deal.

Larry Kudlow, director of the US president's National Economic Council, said Trump is now "very seriously contemplating a shift in NAFTA negotiations".

"When you have to compromise with a whole bunch of countries, you get the worst of the deals", Kudlow said.

The official downplayed, but did not deny, an earlier a comment that Ottawa was "not ruling out" a separate trade deal with the United States to replace NAFTA. He prefers bilateral negotiations and he's looking at two much different countries.

Mexico's actions are within the rules of the WTO and NAFTA, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told reporters on Tuesday.

"Canada has maintained right from the beginning we believe in a trilateral NAFTA".

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the tariffs an affront to the longstanding security partnership between Canada and the United States, and Canada announced retaliatory steps.

Mexico also slapped tariffs on USA steel, as well as various farm products, including pork, cheese, apples, whiskey, cranberries, grapes and canned goods.

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"I'm waiting to hear what their reaction is going to be, frankly", he said.

Kudlow was speaking today on the Fox News morning program, Fox and Friends. It's slipped more than 8% over the last three months as NAFTA negotiations drag on.

A Canadian government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss diplomatic relations, said there have always been one-on-one talks as part of the NAFTA negotiations but noted that the trade pact is a three-country agreement and that any resolution would require all three countries to sign on together. "He hates these multilaterals. he hates large treaties".

Trump on Friday had publicly floated the idea of having individual agreements to replace NAFTA, which he again called "a awful deal".

Trump initially threatened to pull out of the three-nation pact. But growers will look for other export markets to make up for lost sales to Mexico.

Some US industry analysts said it would not be easy, or cheap, for Mexico to switch to suppliers further afield than its northern neighbor. "He will try a different approach".

The Trump administration hit Mexico and Canada with 25-per-cent steel tariffs and 10-per-cent aluminum tariffs on June 1 as part of a campaign to pressure the countries to agree to America's demands on a revised NAFTA.

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