OTTAWA — U.S. President Donald Trump accused both Canada and Mexico on Wednesday of being "very difficult to deal with" on NAFTA negotiations.
Trump made the comments outside the White House, telling reporters that he's not happy with conditions Canadian and Mexican trade negotiators have brought to the table.
"They have been taking advantage of the United States for a long time," Trump said without specific examples. "But I will tell you, in the end, we win. We will win. And we'll win big."
The U.S. president then said the three countries will eventually get along before throwing more verbal jabs seconds later, calling Canada and Mexico "very spoiled."
Trump promised auto workers that whenever a new deal is reached, the outcome will make them "extremely happy." The automotive sector has been a top-of-mind issue for negotiators from the start.
U.S. counterparts are keen on stemming manufacturers from moving their production lines to Mexico to save their bottom lines.
There remains significant uncertainty with when a new NAFTA deal will be reached. Trump campaigned on scrapping the 24-year trade agreement.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland took a deep breath after a reporter asked her to respond to Trump's comments during an Ottawa press conference announcing a $300-million commitment to respond to the Rohingya crisis.
People can judge which adjectives they can choose to apply to that position. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland
Freeland did not address the comments directly, and instead spoke at length about how the Canada-U.S. trading relationship is "mutually beneficial." She mentioned twice that the U.S. actually enjoys a "slight surplus" with Canada.
When pressed again to respond to Trump's accusation that Canadian negotiators "have been very difficult to deal with," Freeland said she's already described Canada's position.
"People can judge which adjectives they can choose to apply to that position," she said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was also asked to weigh in on the president's NAFTA comments about Canada being "very spoiled" and hard to work with.
Trudeau said that all negotiations are challenging and pledged to work "very, very hard" with American counterparts to reach an agreement.
"This is a deal that matters deeply to the citizens of our three countries, and we're going to continue working on that," he said.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was more blunt in addressing Trump's comments. He told reporters on Parliament Hill that he isn't surprised by the U.S. president calling Canada "spoiled."
Singh said the president's comments are evidence of "bullying tactics" at work.
"And we've got to stand up to a bully," he said.
Watch: Trump Says NAFTA Will Make Auto Workers 'Extremely Happy'