Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, front, leaves a news conference after touring Tree Island Steel, in Richmond, B.C., on Friday, August 24, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Freeland heads to Washington to rejoin high-stakes NAFTA negotiations

Freeland is under increasing domestic pressure not to compromise.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is on her way to Washington to re-join Mexico and the United States for urgent negotiations that could determine NAFTA’s future.

Freeland cut a trip to Europe short to travel to Washington after President Donald Trump announced Monday that the U.S. and Mexico had reached a bilateral trade “understanding” that could lead to an overhaul — or perhaps the termination — of the three-country agreement.

Trump invited Ottawa to join what he characterized as American-Mexican trade negotiations, which have stretched through the summer without Canadian officials at the table.

He also made a pointed threat against Canada, saying that if it can’t reach a new trade deal, then he will slap the country with devastating tariffs on automotive imports.

Freeland is under increasing domestic pressure not to compromise.

Gerald Butts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s principal secretary, was seen at the Ottawa airport Tuesday morning, a sign pressure could be mounting for this particular trip.

Related: Freeland to rejoin talks with US, Mexico after they agree to overhaul NAFTA

Related: Canada ‘very encouraged’ by progress on US-Mexican NAFTA talks: Freeland

The Canadian Press

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