Chrystia Freeland speaks during an election event as part of the Canadian Muslim Townhall series at the University of Toronto on Sunday, September 22, 2019. Whether or not Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffles her to a new cabinet post on Wednesday, Freeland’s imprint on Canada’s foreign policy will remain visible for some time to come, analysts suggest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

Freeland heads to Washington for trade talks with U.S. and Mexico

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland working to ratify the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is headed to Washington for North American trade talks with another deadline looming.

Officials from the continent’s three countries have been holding talks aimed at speeding the ratification of the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

The Privy Council Office said in a statement that Freeland would be meeting her American and Mexican counterparts, Robert Lighthizer, the Trump administration’s trade czar, and Jesus Seade, Mexico’s undersecretary for North America on Wednesday.

Freeland, who is the lead minister for the renegotiation of North American Free Trade Agreement, started her with a federal cabinet meeting in the Ottawa area.

Canadian government officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said Canada’s acting ambassador Kirsten Hillman and chief trade negotiator Steve Verheul were representing Canada in talks earlier in the day.

Officials say Freeland has spoken on the phone with Lighthizer both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mexico is the only country to legally approve the deal, while Canada is waiting on the U.S. Congress to make its first move towards ratification.

The American Thanksgiving holiday was seen by many as the last reasonable opportunity for U.S. lawmakers to practically dispatch with USMCA amid the broader impeachment drama engulfing President Donald Trump and the looming political shift ahead of the November 2020 presidential election.

ALSO READ: Trudeau to take sober approach to unveiling new cabinet for minority mandate

Democrats control the House of Representatives and have been negotiating with Lighthizer for many months to strengthen several of the deal’s provisions, including improved labour standards to ensure that Mexico’s much promised workplace reforms can be enforced.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House Leader who controls the introduction of a ratification bill, said earlier this week that she and Lighthizer “were within range of a substantially improved agreement for America’s workers.” But she added she wanted Lighthizer to put that in writing “for final review.”

Trump and his top economic adviser, Peter Navarro, have levelled scathing criticism on Pelosi and the Democrats for blocking progress on the trade deal by focusing on impeachment.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sooke’s Paul Larouche gold snipes along Sooke River, a process in which he uses a mask and snorkel to find pieces of gold. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Hitting the jackpot: Sooke man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

Retiring local politicians Carole James and Andrew Weaver will receive annual payouts estimated at $87,000 and $34,000, respectively, under the pension plan for outgoing MLAs in B.C., according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. (Black Press Media file photos)
Taxpayer watchdog howling over outgoing MLAs’ pension payouts

Carole James, Andrew Weaver among Island MLAs whose pensions are calculated by taxpayers federation

An incident on Sooke Road is slowing traffic Wednesday evening. (Courtesy of Mona Hazeldine)
Second driver not found after Sooke Road crash snarls evening traffic

Two vehicles involved in rear-end crash Wednesday evening

BC Ferries vessel Skeena Queen pulls into the dock at Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island. (Black Press File Photo).
BC Ferries faces calls for improved reliability on Swartz Bay-Fulford Harbour route

Recent mechanical breakdown resulted in sailing cancellations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 27

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Commissioner Austin Cullen looks at documents before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
RCMP lacked dedicated team to investigate illegal activities at casino, inquiry hears

Hearings for the inquiry are set to continue into next week and the inquiry is expected to wrap up next year

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Court approves money for B.C. foster children alleging harm from Kelowna social worker

The maximum combined total award for basic payments and elevated damages for an individual is $250,000

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

Most Read