President Donald Trump claimed Wednesday that he rejected a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week as the countries struggle to reach a new trade deal.
However, "no meeting was requested" by the Canadian government, Trudeau spokeswoman Eleanore Catenaro said. It underscores the simmering trade tensions between the neighbors and rocky personal relationship between their leaders.
The Trump administration is scrambling to meet a self-imposed Oct. 1 deadline to strike a new North American trade agreement among the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Mexico has already signed on to a deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.
So far, the U.S. and its northern neighbor have struggled to come to terms — and Trump is again using tariff threats as leverage to bring trading partners to the table.
"His tariffs are too high, and he doesn't seem to want to move, and I've told him forget about it, and frankly, we're thinking about just taxing cars coming in from Canada," Trump told reporters in explaining why he did not want to meet one-on-one with Trudeau at the United Nations General Assembly. "That's the mother lode. That's the big one."
"We're very unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiating style of Canada. We don't like their representative [Chrystia Freeland] very much," Trump added during a news conference.