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

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

Vernon Council voted in favour of implementing a 500-metre buffer between all new cannabis stores in the city at its meeting Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Black Press files)
Two cannabis shops vie for last downtown Vernon spots

Applications for stores within 240m of each other and a third retailer up for consideration

Vernon’s Ellison Provincial Park has everything the outdoor enthusiast could wish for. (Ribbons of Green photo)
Upgrades trail in for Okanagan campgrounds

Bear Creek and Ellison improvements underway

‘Arthur’ describes the in-person drop-off of a ‘notice of trespass and personal liability’ to Vernon’s City Hall in a video on the group’s website.
Mysterious group serves notice to Okanagan mayors, demanding end to ‘unlawful’ COVID rules

26-page letter sent by ‘Sovereign Republic of British Columbia’

(File photo)
Fraud alert issued by Vernon police

Busy start to year with more than 30 frauds reported already

(Black Press file photo)
Lumby curling club needs $17K to continue season amid COVID-19

The village agreed to provide half of the requested funds, RDNO may provide the other half

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

The Oliver Fire Department’s “new” truck was built with the help of various local companies. It was completed Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (Oliver Fire Dept. / Facebook)
It takes a town to build a truck: The Oliver Fire Department gets creative

Ingenuity and local connections played an important role in the upgrading fire truck

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Clint George collaborated with Les Louis to create the Pelmewash Parkway Indigenous sculptures in Lake Country. (Video still)
First Indigenous territory recognition made in Lake Country

Council makes historic move after Syilx artists create parkway sculptures

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

Most Read