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Having spent just minutes in the building where she's participated in marathon talks aiming to reach a deal with the United States to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canada's Foreign Minister hit a less optimistic note than earlier that Thursday, when she had said both sides were "making progress". The most frequently cited points of deep disagreement included Mexico's bid to safeguard its burgeoning auto sector-Trump's most obvious target-and Canadian resistance to USA demands for more access to Canada's protected dairy market and an end to NAFTA's dispute settlement panels.

But The Toronto Star reports that it obtained comments from an off-the-record portion of an Oval Office interview between Trump and Bloomberg News.

Trump said it "off the record" because he believed that making his stance public is "going to be so insulting they're not going to be able to make a deal".

Speaking to Bloomberg of the record, he'd said a deal was possible "totally on our terms" and that he'd threatened Trudeau's government in the talks with tariffs on Canadian cars.

"We'll see if Canada can be part of the deal", Trump said on Monday, though he expressed an openness to a separate bilateral deal with Canada and pledged to terminate the existing NAFTA agreement after deals are reached with both countries. "We know that a win-win-win agreement is within reach", Chrystia Freeland told reporters after a week of talks in Washington to rewrite the 25-year-old NAFTA.

Issues that have led to discord between the neighbouring countries include Canada's dairy trade rules, dispute-handling mechanisms and patent protections for medicines.

US officials said negotiations with their Canadian counterparts will continue next week, and Canada may join the US-Mexico agreement "if it is willing".

The administration had tried to make Friday an informal deadline to pressure Canada to agree to the deal in order to then send an agreement to Peña Nieto before he leaves office on December 1.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has endured a rocky relationship with Trump, fended off a question about the American president's comments at a news conference Friday. "That's what I'm going to do", Trudeau said.

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Talks between the U.S. and Canada are expected to resume mid next week.

For now, the United States plans to move forward with a deal with Mexico on terms reached earlier in the week.

His remarks immediately came to the attention of the Canadian delegation, which had already suspected the USA was not bargaining in good faith. An agreement where America softens its demands to eliminate a dispute-settlement panel in return for Canadian concessions on dairy may pave the way for a deal.

Freeland emerged from the morning's talks just minutes after news of Trump's remarks rippled through the media corps gathered outside the offices of the US trade representative, where the negotiations have been taking place all week.

Trump also wants a NAFTA deal that eliminates dairy tariffs of up to 300 percent that he argues are hurting US farmers, an important political base for Republicans.

"Look at the amount of protectionist measures introduced by the U.S.in the last couple years", said Brian Kingston, a vice president at the Business Council of Canada.

The White House informed Congress that it plans to sign a trade deal with Mexico and that Canada could opt in later.

"He hates any form of decision making from outside the United States telling Americans what to do", said the NAFTA expert, who asked not to be named.


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