Canada's Freeland to hold NAFTA talks on Tuesday as time runs short
(Adds details, background)
By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Canadian Foreign Minister
Chrystia Freeland will meet U.S. Trade Representative Robert
Lighthizer in Washington on Tuesday for another round of talks
to renew the NAFTA trade pact, an official said on Monday, as
time runs short to seal a deal.
Freeland spokesman Adam Austen did not give details. After
more than a year of negotiations, Canada and the United States
are still trying to resolve differences over the North American
Free Trade Agreement, which also includes Mexico.
U.S. officials say time is running out to agree on a text on
which the current Congress can vote. Canadian officials say they
are working on the assumption they have until the end of
Freeland spent three days in Washington last week and said
on Friday as she prepared to leave that she and Lighthizer were
making very good progress in some areas, although a deal
remained out of reach.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who says he is prepared to tear
up NAFTA, has struck a trade deal with Mexico and threatened to
push ahead without Canada.
Uncertainly over the future of NAFTA, which underpins $1.2
trillion in trade, is weighing on markets as well as the
Canadian and Mexican currencies.
Officials say the main sticking points are Canada's dairy
quota regime, Ottawa's desire to keep a dispute-resolution
mechanism, and Canadian media laws that favor domestically
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, speaking in an
interview broadcast on Sunday, said Canada had to scrap a
low-price milk proteins policy to reach a deal on NAFTA. U.S.
farmers complain Canada is flooding export markets.
Austen, asked whether Freeland might return to Washington
later in the week, said no decisions had been taken. She is due
to attend a two-day meeting of legislators from the ruling
Liberal Party in western Canada on Wednesday and Thursday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last Wednesday he did not
see the need to attend the talks for the time being.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by James Dalgleish and
First Published: 2018-09-10 22:10:59
Updated 2018-09-10 23:29:43
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