How the chaos in Donald Trump's Washington might affect Canada

Marc Garneau, the chair of the Canada-U.S. relations cabinet committee, said Canada is open to planning more rounds of NAFTA talks if that's what it takes to strike a deal.

Garneau: 'We are ready to work with more meetings and more rounds and work as quickly as we can'

Marc Garneau, chair of the Canada-U.S. relations cabinet committee, says trade between the two countries is very well balanced. (CBC News)
Listen9:45

Canada is open to planning more rounds of NAFTA talks if that's what it takes to strike a deal.

Marc Garneau, the chair of the Canada-U.S. relations cabinet committee, said Canadian negotiators are putting emphasis on finding an agreement that works for all three countries.

But if that takes longer than what was originally planned for, Canada is open to extending talks, he told The House.

"We just need to keep our eye on the ball," he said.

"All the essential ingredients are there for us to move towards a better agreement on NAFTA."

But events south of the border threaten a speedy conclusion to the trade negotiations.

U.S. President Donald Trump boasted in a fundraising speech in Missouri on Wednesday that he made up facts about trade in a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trump also fired his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson - someone who Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland had developed a close relationship with.

On top of everything else, Mexico's Minister of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo said that because of the timing of that country's election, if there is no deal on NAFTA by April, discussions could last until the end of the year.

When asked about the potential April deadline, Garneau said it's "not a good thing to speculate about an end date."

By approaching negotiations preoccupied with an end data, you put constraints on yourself that affect the way you negotiate, he said, putting you at a disadvantage.

"We are ready to work with more meetings and more rounds and work as quickly as we can, but we do not want to in any way compromise on the positions Canada is taking."