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Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland was upbeat in Washington after meeting US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, saying that "detailed" discussions to salvage the North American Free Trade Agreement as a three-nation deal would begin the following day.

"The fact that agreement on those hard issues for Mexico was able to be reached definitely clears the way for us to have significant, substantive, and I hope productive, conversations with the U.S. this week", Freeland said after a brief meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Canada, according to Trump, has also been in conversations about joining the new deal.

The 24-year-old NAFTA is a trilateral deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico that underpins $1.2 trillion in North American Trade.

Instead, the United States and Mexico agreed to a 16-year life span for the deal, with a review every six years that can extend the pact for 16 years, U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer said.

A concession on dairy - which is explosive politically in Canada - is one of the few cards the Trudeau government has left to play at the bargaining table after the US and Mexico reached their own side deal on Monday.

Negotiators have worked for a year to update and rewrite NAFTA, but in the last five weeks Washington and Mexico City worked to resolve their bilateral issues without Ottawa.

In addition, when asked about the timeline for China, Mnuchin said that the trade disputes are not issues that are going to be resolved in one or two meetings. US demands have ranged from ending those tariffs to scrapping a pricing system for milk ingredients that hurt USA exports of milk proteins.

Freeland cancelled her trip to Europe this week to return to the NAFTA bargaining table after the US and Mexico agreed on numerous trade issues throughout their bilateral, summertime talks. "A lot of people thought we'd never get here", the president said as he entered the Oval Office to an array of news cameras.

"I think Canada very much wants to make the deal", he said, but again raised the possibility of doing a separate deal with Mexico.




"I think that what they probably need by Friday is some indication from Canada to the Americans that it's ready to play ball, that they're ready to negotiate in good faith", said Mark Warner, a trade lawyer with MAAW Law, which specializes in Canadian and US law.

Trump himself has threatened automotive tariffs that would cause considerable damage to both economies if Canada declines to join the U.S. -Mexico deal.

"They want to be a part of the deal and we gave until Friday and I think we're probably on track", Trump told reporters of Canada's negotiating team. Canada can sign on up until that ratification, which could be at the end of November.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the idea of leaving Canada out of the deal "was met with near universal condemnation" among Republican senators, some of whom maintain Trump does not have congressional authority to turn NAFTA into a two-way deal - a view echoed privately by Canadian officials.

But outside experts say the American law governing how Congress approves trade deals - the oft-cited reason for the time crunch - permits much more flexibility. Mexico has already offered concessions to the USA, especially in terms of rules of origin.

Trump made these comments during an oddly riveting televised event from the White House, where he had Mexico's outgoing president, Enrique Peña Nieto, on speakerphone.

The U.S.is seeking more market access for its milk products to the protected Canadian market.

"Whether or not Canada agrees with the concept of a NAFTA reboot, we suspect it does little to benefit the loonie", he wrote on Tuesday.

Mexico agreed to eliminate a settlement system for anti-dumping disputes, NAFTA's Chapter 19.

Shortly after Trump's first State of the Union address, in which he barely mentioned energy issues, API's Mark Green urged the administration in a blog post to recognize how the US oil and gas industry has benefited from NAFTA, specifically, by opening markets for USA crude, natural gas and finished products.


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