US President Donald Trump confirmed on Wednesday (Sept 26) that he had refused to meet Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, accusing Canada of treating the United States "very badly".
Speaking at a news conference in New York, Trump also said he was planning to effectively terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement and impose steep tariffs on all automotive imports from Canada to the United States.
However, Cameron Ahmad, a spokesman for Trudeau, rejected the assertion that a meeting was ever requested, saying: "No meeting was requested and we do not have any comment beyond that".
He also reaffirmed Canada will not agree to a bad deal.
"That's the motherload, that's the big one", Trump told reporters.
At the end of his statement, Trump said that he loves Canada and he has "so many friends" from the country. "I have so many friends ... but that has nothing to do with this".
The United States has imposed a September 30 deadline for Canada to agree to the text of a new NAFTA.
The President also suggested there is deep mistrust in Chrystia Freeland, the lead Canadian trade negotiator, and her team.
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. "And frankly we're thinking about just taxing cars coming in from Canada".
As the relationship between Trump and Trudeau continues to worsen, it's unclear what this could mean for either economy or the trade relationship that connects thousands of companies in both countries.
Observers say the patience of US lawmakers is waning, particularly with a good deal with Mexico on the table.
The US trade representative, Robert Lighthizer - Freeland's counterpart at the talks - complained on Tuesday that Canada was not making enough concessions and warned that time was running out. "We don't like their representative very much".
Malmstrom said Trump's comments show that "it is increasingly hard dealing with the Americans".
Trudeau told reporters that Trump had insisted repeatedly that punitive American tariffs on steel and aluminum won't be an issue under a new North American trade deal.
Trudeau's interactions with the mercurial US president have been a subject of great curiosity over the course of his three days at the General Assembly.
The official declined to be named because the matter has not yet been made public.
"I don't think there's anything to read into it", Trudeau said.
Under a USA legal process known as Trade Promotion Authority that was invoked to revamp NAFTA, Americans lawmakers need to review the text of the agreement 60 days before President Donald Trump can sign it.
"I think everybody knows what each other's position is on all of the major issues and I think it's really a question of whether or not the US wants to have a deal".
Washington and Mexico City last month announced agreement on a new trade pact, but a separate track of intensive talks with Canada have so far failed to produce results.
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