Canada PM says no NAFTA deal might be better for us than a bad one

FILE PHOTO: Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

(Reuters) - Canada “might very well be better off” not signing up to an updated version of the NAFTA trade pact rather than accepting a bad deal, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday.

Trudeau, speaking at the University of Chicago, said in a televised address he expected a good deal from negotiations to modernize the $1.2 trillion North American Free Trade Agreement.

Talks to update the 1994 treaty are going slowly amid frequent threats by U.S. President Donald Trump to walk away unless Canada and Mexico agree to major changes.

“I’ve been very, very clear. We are going to expect a good deal, a fair deal,” said Trudeau.

“We will not be pushed into accepting any old deal and no deal might very well be better for Canada than a bad deal.”

Trudeau made similar comments last Friday when he also said he was confident about prospects for the treaty.

Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Sandra Maler