Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland arrives at the Office Of The United States Trade Representative, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Tough NAFTA talks ahead for Canada’s Freeland

Canada’s Freeland sits down with U.S. negotiators in Washington

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is in high-stakes meetings with her U.S. counterpart this morning in Washington as part of an accelerated search for areas of compromise to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Freeland cancelled her trip to Europe this week to return to the NAFTA bargaining table after the U.S. and Mexico agreed on numerous trade issues throughout their bilateral, summertime talks.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced the deal with Mexico on Monday and has pressured Canada to join new agreement by Friday — otherwise he says he will impose devastating tariffs on Canada’s auto sector.

RELATED: Facing new pressures, Canadian negotiators re-enter trade talks with US, Mexico

After being absent from a month of U.S.-Mexican discussions, Canada’s team is back in full force in the American capital for the first time since the spring and Freeland says the negotiators are intensively focused on finding new areas of compromise.

On her way in to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this morning, Freeland said she and her officials had already been hard at work since the crack of dawn, meeting with Mexican negotiators and working the phones.

Freeland says the Mexicans’ tough decision to compromise on labour and wages as part of its auto rules of origin talks with the U.S. has cleared the way for more substantive talks between Washington and Ottawa.

There are now big questions whether Canada is willing to open up access to its controversial supply-managed dairy market or if it will back away from its hard line to preserve NAFTA’s dispute settlement system.

RELATED: Freeland heads to Washington to rejoin high-stakes NAFTA negotiations

The U.S. has demanded that Canada move off its line on both issues as well as others.

Freeland met with the U.S. and Mexican delegations late Tuesday and again early Wednesday morning, and she says she’s hopeful the sides can find common ground — especially now that the U.S. and Mexico have an understanding on how to manage the continental auto industry.

When pressed by reporters, she has not provided details of what Canada might be putting on the table.

Freeland is meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, this morning near the White House.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

COSAR and Kelowna RCMP rescue couple lost at James Lake

The rescue occurred Saturday, July 11

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Okanagan sisters-in-law sleep out successful

Kiley Routley and Heidi Routley raise nearly $2,400 and awareness for youth homelessness

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Okanagan shelter

Homeless shelters in Vernon have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Most Read