Today is the deadline for Canada’s negotiations to join the recently renegotiated version of NAFTA agreed to by the United States and Mexico. If the Canadians can’t find a way to come to terms with the new deal, the U.S. and Mexico will enact their own deal bilaterally. Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is leading negotiations for the country, and is upbeat about the process. Paul Vieira and Jacob Schlesinger report in The Wall Street Journal:
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke briefly to reporters Thursday afternoon during a break on the third day of the talks in Washington.
Ms. Freeland didn’t elaborate on the substance of the exchange. “The atmosphere is good, and there’s good will on both sides,” she said. “We are making progress.”
A spokesman for Ms. Freeland’s U.S. counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Ms. Freeland, who arrived in Washington on Tuesday, met Thursday morning with Mr. Lighthizer and Jared Kushner, a senior adviser and son-in-law of President Trump. She met again with Mr. Lighthizer for four hours from late Thursday afternoon into the evening.
“There remains distance on key issues,” a Canadian official familiar with the discussions said during a break. The official declined to say whether the Friday deadline could be met, saying “we’ll take the time it takes to get a good deal for Canada.”
Messrs. Kushner and Lighthizer have been in talks with Canadian negotiators for at least six hours a day, according to a person familiar with the talks. Friday remains the “anticipated date” for reaching an agreement, the person said, but the negotiators “are not going to settle simply because they set that as the deadline.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, briefed Canadian provincial leaders on the state of the talks.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard told reporters in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, that “things are going well” in terms of the Nafta negotiations, after participating in the call with Mr. Trudeau. He declined to provide further details.
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