Trudeau, Freeland to meet Mexico's NAFTA point man in Ottawa

Freeland and Trudeau

Freeland and Trudeau

The hastily scheduled talks included U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Jesus Seade, Mexico's undersecretary for North America, according to a statement from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office.

American officials had talked about finalizing a deal by U.S. Thanksgiving, which was yesterday.

Trudeau said at the start of their meeting Friday that "we know there's still a little more work to do".

Negotiators from the United States, Mexico and Canada signed a deal a year ago on a new treaty to replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but only Mexico ratified the accord.

After the meeting, Mexico's negotiator said he didn't think the proposals went too far, telling reporters, "Every single issue that has made me lose my sleep is off the table", adding, "there is progress across the board", and "we are on the way to a resolution".

The deal has been stalled in the U.S.as Democrats try to negotiate changes with the White House, which would see new labour standards for Mexico.

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Seade added that there are some hard issues that need to be discussed with stakeholders in Mexico, arguing it was more important to get the right treaty than a quick treaty.

Most of the trouble is between the United States and Mexico, but Canada can play a role in smoothing things out, such as by helping Mexico adopt Canadian-style systems for certifying unions.

Mexico is the only country which legally approved the agreement, while Canada waits for the U.S. Congress will take the first step towards ratification.

Seade said it was only in the last few days that the three countries had draft texts of these side deals to look over.

Seade said Pelosi's request for reworking the agreement in the areas of labor, environment, dispute settlement and pharmaceuticals were "valid views". He also said it would prevent the need for "Lone Ranger" inspectors to be parachuted into Mexican facilities to check for violations - a red line for the Mexican government.

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