WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Tuesday he believed the United States can reach a trade deal with Canada this week after coming to an agreement with Mexico.
“I think our objective is to try to get Canada aboard quickly,” Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC.
He said he thought an agreement could be wrapped up this week.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is on her way to Washington to re-join Mexico and the United States for urgent negotiations that could determine NAFTA's future.
Freeland cut a trip to Europe short to travel to Washington after President Donald Trump announced Monday that the U.S. and Mexico had reached a bilateral trade ``understanding'' that could lead to an overhaul _ or perhaps the termination _ of the three-country agreement.
Trump invited Ottawa to join what he characterized as American-Mexican trade negotiations, which have stretched through the summer without Canadian officials at the table.
He also made a pointed threat against Canada, saying that if it can't reach a new trade deal, then he will slap the country with devastating tariffs on automotive imports.
Freeland is under increasing domestic pressure not to compromise.
The United States and Mexico agreed on Monday to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), putting pressure on Canada to agree to new terms on auto trade and dispute-settlement rules to remain part of the three-nation pact.
Mnuchin would not speculate on which issues might be problematic in the Canada talks but said he did not anticipate there would be a lot of sticking points.
“The U.S. market and the Canadian markets are very intertwined,” he said. “It’s important for them to get this deal and it’s important for us to get this deal.”
If a deal is not reached with Canada, Mnuchin said, the United States would proceed with a separate trade agreement with Mexico. He said he believed Congress would approve a separate deal.
If talks with Canada are not wrapped up by the end of this week, Trump plans to notify Congress that he has reached a deal with Mexico, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told reporters on Monday.
Reuters and The Canadian Press contributed to this report.