Canada's Freeland to hold NAFTA talks on Tuesday as time runs short

Rep. Tom Reed attends a committee hearing on in the Longworth Building in Washington D.C. on Feb. 14 2018

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland returned to Washington on Tuesday for talks aimed at rescuing the North American Free Trade Agreement as time was running short before an October 1 deadline.

"Maybe that helps us all put into perspective the negotiations that we're having - and also put into a little bit of historical perspective the importance and the significance of the relationship between Canada and the United States", Freeland told reporters outside the offices of her counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said just last week that the process was needed, because Trump "doesn't always follow the rules."

Canada's foreign minister is to be in Saskatoon on Wednesday to update her fellow caucus members on the ongoing negotiations.

The U.S. and Mexico last month reached a preliminary agreement to replace the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

US President Donald Trump also said earlier that the talks, which both countries ramped up in recent weeks, were coming along well. While Reuters reported on Tuesday that Canada is prepared to make concessions on the issue, it is likely to face opposition among supporters of Trudeau's Liberal Party in Ontario and Quebec.

Austen, asked whether Freeland might return to Washington later in the week, said no decisions had been taken.

US officials have said time is running out to agree on a text that can be signed by American, Canadian and Mexican leaders by November 30, before the current Mexican government leaves office. "The longer term is not almost as clear", said Ekos pollster Frank Graves."Trade wars are never good for the respective combatants and if this escalates it could have very deleterious economic impacts".




Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland participates in an armchair discussion with journalist Masha Gessen, moderated by Heather Reisman, CEO of Indigo Books and Music, at the Women in the World Summit in Toronto, Sept. 10, 2018.

Meanwhile, despite the "several" issues still in dispute, there is strong will on the US side, especially, to wrap up the talks by Friday, trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said Monday.

The two sides have so far been unable to break an impasse over USA access to the Canadian dairy market, a cultural exemption for Canada and the Chapter 19 dispute resolution mechanism.

Daniel Ujczo, a US trade lawyer who has worked for both the Canadian and the USA governments, rejects the notion that Canada and the United States are at a stalemate.

Trudeau, facing elections in 2019, said on Sunday (June 10) that Canada "will not be pushed around", triggering a fierce attack from Trump and his advisers, on Tuesday (June 12).

"I think it is good for him in the short term. That's important and that's been a success due to Canada and the United States working together and due to Mexico showing some significant flexibility over the summer", Freeland said.

Experts note that the desire to make a trade deal happen is influenced by upcoming political events, including the US midterm elections in November, a transition of presidential power in Mexico in December and next year's Canadian election.

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