Bill Morneau acknowledges 'clouds' hanging over hopes for free trade deals

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is acknowledging ``clouds'' hovering over various trade talks, as Canada struggles to get U.S. tariffs removed and the trade war between the United States and China drags on.

The revised free trade pact between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, known as the USMCA, has yet to be ratified, with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland warning earlier this week that Canada's support for the agreement may hinge on the removal of U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

Mexico, also straining under hefty metal duties, has said that unless the tariffs are lifted it will be content with the status quo of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In Montreal Thursday, Morneau said the trade situation ``looks messy'' but that he is ``cautiously optimistic'' the updated deal will be ratified in the ``not-too-distant future.''

He suggested a growing suspicion of globalization around the world has led politicians to wax protectionist, complicating the USMCA and Sino-American negotiations.

Morneau also confirmed he has no plans to review the tax code, pointing to the federal election looming a half-year off.