Freeland sits down with US negotiators for tough NAFTA talks

Wall Street traders send Nasdaq to record high following new trade agreement between US and Mexico

Wall Street traders send Nasdaq to record high following new trade agreement between US and Mexico

Canada's minister of foreign affairs is scheduled to hold talks in Washington today in hopes of reaching a trade agreement with the United States, an urgent response after President Donald Trump announced a deal with Mexico on Monday that left out Canada.

On her way into more talks with the Americans, Freeland said that her team had worked into the evening last night on some of the proposals still in play and she would be discussing Canada's position with her counterpart, Robert Lighthizer.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is in Washington for the latest round of negotiations, flanked by senior Canadian officials, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his point-man on US relations, Brian Clow.

"Notwithstanding President Trump's indication that he might finalize a new deal without Canada, a trilateral deal still seems more likely, in our view, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill may deem it essential", ClearView analysts said.

The 24-year-old NAFTA is a trilateral deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico that underpins $1.2 trillion in North American Trade.

The ball is now in Canada's court after the United States and Mexico reached an agreement including a compromise on the controversial auto sector, higher wages for Mexican workers and a provision to review the accord every 6 years.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpKoch group pours almost M into ads to boost three GOP Senate candidates Gillum wins stunner and other takeaways from Arizona, Florida McSally prevails in nasty Arizona GOP Senate primary MORE spoke about the negotiations in similarly tempered tones on Tuesday.

"Canada's largest dairy-producing provinces are divided on ending supply management as part of trade talks, with roughly one-in-three in Quebec (35%) and Ontario (34%) preferring to keep the program, and similar numbers preferring to end it (39% in Ontario; 32% in Quebec)" says the Angus Reid website. At one point, Trump mused that simply imposing punishing tariffs on Canadian cars would be easier.

The preliminary agreement announced Monday allows carmakers to import vehicles duty-free if 75 percent of the content is made in the USA and Mexico.

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"This is a very intense moment in the negotiations and we're trying to get a lot of things done very quickly", she said. "And I assume that they are going to carry out negotiations on the sensitive bilateral issues between Canada and the United States".

The new trade deal between the US and Mexico plans to be in effect for 16 years with a review every six years.

Members of Congress, including senior Republicans, have pushed back, saying they want Canada involved. "If Canada doesn't sign on, it's a problem".

Trump pulled the US out of the TPP, calling it a bad deal. "And we are going to remain firm on that principle because Canadians expect us to stand up for them".

That said, Dawson says it's not clear how Congress would respond if Trump were to simultaneously give notice this Friday of a bilateral pact with Mexico and termination of NAFTA.

"The legalities I think would lead me to believe that's strictly posturing from the Trump administration", he said. "No NAFTA deal is better than a bad NAFTA deal".

The interview took place days after Canada and the US broke off formal negotiations - talks which resumed Tuesday - after the government presented a slimmed-down set of proposals aimed at getting a quick deal.

Mexico agreed to eliminate dispute settlement panels for certain anti-dumping cases, a move that could complicate talks with Canada, which had insisted on the panels.

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