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North American trade deal won't happen without Canada, says IIF chief

Key Points
  • Timothy Adams, president and CEO of the Institute of International Finance, told CNBC that he believes a North American trade deal won't happen without Canada.
  • He says a bilateral deal between the United States and Mexico will not pass Congress.
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Trade issues are a nagging problem, says IIF CEO

Timothy Adams, president and CEO of the Institute of International Finance, told CNBC on Thursday that he believes a North American trade deal won't happen without Canada.

The text of trade deal between the U.S. and Mexico is expected to be released as early as Friday, two sources have told CNBC. That text will allow Canada to join into the agreement at a later date, one source said.

However, "without Canada as part of the deal, there won't be a deal," Adams said on "Squawk on the Street. "

He said a bilateral deal between the United States and Mexico will not pass Congress.

"The message coming out of Capitol Hill is don't send us a bill Canada isn't part of," said Adams, who was undersecretary for international affairs at the Treasury Department under President George W. Bush.

That's because Canada is the No. 1 U.S. trading partner and is "critically important to 36 states," he said.

Adams was in Canada recently speaking with bankers and said the business community thinks it will get done. The Institute of International Finance is the global association of the financial industry.

"Ultimately you have to have Canada at the table. Canadians know that," he said. "We're just at the final stages of getting a deal."

Meanwhile, the good U.S. economy is helping allay concerns about trade.

"We don't see that vibrancy anywhere globally that we see in the U.S.," he said. "The underlying fundamentals of the U.S. are pretty good. The best they have been in a long time."