Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Freeland to meet Lighthizer in Washington Tuesday

Freeland to meet Lighthizer in Washington Tuesday

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says Canada must make changes to dairy trade with the United States as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said told reporters after a two-and-a-half-hour meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerMcConnell urges GOP senators to call Trump about tariffs Companies brace for trade war MORE that a deal is "eminently possible" but said she would not negotiate the pact in public, the CBC reported.

The prime minister Justin Trudeau has been clear about its intentions: we do not assign the management of the offer.

Freeland will spend Tuesday in the USA capital before she heads to Saskatoon to attend Liberal caucus meetings that begin later in the day and run through Thursday.

Canada and the United States have been negotiating since August 28 after Washington unveiled a proposed North American free-trade deal with Mexico and pressed Canada to sign on or be left out.

"Maybe that helps us all put into perspective the negotiations that we're having and put into historical significance the relationship between Canada and the United States", Freeland said.

Major stumbling blocks for Ottawa and Washington remain: an worldwide system for resolving disputes, Canada's protected dairy industry and Canadian cultural subsidies.

Lighthizer spent Monday in Brussels for trade discussions with the European Union - preliminary talks that are scheduled to resume later this fall.

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"Having said all of that, nothing is done until everything is done" - and that says it all really, but 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.

"I think it's something that we obviously have to be aware (of), that the president is contemplating", said Trudeau.

Meanwhile, figures provided to CBC News show that Canada collected almost $300 million in July and August after Ottawa slapped USA imports with retaliatory tariffs.

"Even if we gave him everything he wanted - and there is no way we would ever do that - who can say whether he'd be satisfied?" said one source, who declined to be identified given the extreme sensitivity of the situation.

Canadian officials have said they are working on the assumption that they have until the end of September to make a deal. He said Canada and the United States spent a lot of time last week reconciling what the USA and Mexico had already agreed upon.

Trudeau has said Canada could be willing to be flexible on dairy.

The hope is for a trilateral agreement in principle that Congress can approve before Mexico's new president takes office on December 1.

"Our teams continued to work during the weekend".

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