Freeland’s childbirth metaphor on NAFTA: Contractions happening, due date TBD

Freeland’s childbirth metaphor on NAFTA: Contractions happening, due date TBD

WASHINGTON — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is using a childbirth metaphor to describe the state of the NAFTA negotiations.

She says contractions are happening, but it’s unclear when a new deal will be delivered.

Her comment comes after the first of what might be several meetings with the U.S. trade czar, in an anticipated days-long effort to complete a trade agreement.

Freeland says the countries are now sharing feedback gathered from auto-industry stakeholders over recent days.

She arrived in Washington on Monday and met her Mexican counterpart to discuss Mexico’s latest suggestions for resolving a key sticking point of these talks: auto parts.

Mexico and the U.S. are sharply divided over an American plan that would credit companies for building cars in wealthier, high-wage countries — in other words, outside Mexico.

A Mexico-U.S. meeting to resolve those differences ran overtime on Monday, delaying Freeland’s first encounter with U.S. counterpart Robert Lighthizer until today.

One big unknown is what happens after an agreement on autos and whether the U.S. will soften other demands in order to get a quick deal.

The Canadian Press

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