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

Public art budgets could be used for gardens, Abbotsford councillor suggests

‘Gardens really are art,’ Coun. Brenda Falk says

SLIDESHOW: Chilliwack firefighters battle large blaze at Rosedale chicken barn Friday

Birds were saved but the buildings on Castleman Road were destroyed by fire

Plainclothes Abbotsford police officer deletes cellphone video after drawing gun on innocent man

‘They never asked me what I was doing there, strictly came out with guns, threatening to shoot me’

Chilliwack Fair kicks off tonight with local talent

Todd Richard and Appaloosa to hit the stage for drive-in concert at fairgrounds

VIDEO: Chilliwack chicken barn destroyed by fire

Chickens saved from blaze as firefighters work to control large fire

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

FURTHER UPDATE: Body removed from Maple Ridge hotel after large police presence

A large contingent of Mounties were at the Art Infiniti Hotel Friday afternoon and evening

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

PHOTOS: Moving day for 110-year-old Fraser Valley heritage house

Chilliwack heritage house makes 1.7-kilometre journey to new location

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for Aug. 7

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Most Read