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Freeland to meet Lighthizer in Washington Tuesday

Freeland to meet Lighthizer in Washington Tuesday

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland will meet U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington on Tuesday to discuss talks to renew the NAFTA trade pact, a government official said on Monday.

But there remain obstacles to reaching a deal, which both US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said they were prepared to walk away from.

He told reporters in Winnipeg on Tuesday, "We are better off having no NAFTA than a bad deal for Canada".

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

Asked if it would be gone from a NAFTA deal, he said, "I think it should be".

"So if we don't find some way to accommodate some of that, then we're not going to have a deal".

Trudeau has been signalling in recent days that Canada might be prepared to show some flexibility there.

"The conversations over the weekend continued to be constructive and productive", she said. Under U.S. trade negotiating laws, a text for that agreement is due by October 1. Class 7 has to go. "President, I recommend we accept this deal with Canada; it's not ideal, but it's a good deal, ' then I think he takes it,"' Mulroney said. "That I know for sure, right from the horse's mouth".

Freeland spokesman Adam Austen did not give details. Eares are on the ground for USA and China developments but at the fore again was the NAFTA negotiations.

What should Canada do at the NAFTA negotiating table?




Dairy has been singled out as a key hurdle, including on Friday when Larry Kudlow, a senior economic adviser to Trump, said in a Fox Business Network interview that what "continues to block the deal is m-i-l-k".

"At the end of the day, we're neighbors", Freeland said.

"We're neighbours and neighbours help each other when they need help".

Craft, a fixture at the NAFTA talks last week, was in Gander, N.L., to commemorate the role that town played on the day 17 years ago when the United States shut down its airspace, forcing countless passenger airliners to find refuge wherever they could.

Freeland returned to Washington on Tuesday to continue meeting with her United States counterpart.

Under that system, the USA exports about $500 million of dairy products duty free to Canada - three times what it imports from here - but faces tariffs of up to 300 per cent for anything more.

After a year of effort, Washington and Mexico City announced an agreement in late August and Trump's administration has informed Congress it plans to sign a new treaty by November 30, including Canada if possible.

So far, Canada has been unable to obtain a guarantee from the United States that Canadians would not be hit with punitive US auto tariffs if Ottawa agrees to a new NAFTA deal with Washington.

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).


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