WASHINGTON — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is kicking off her two-day visit to Washington with meetings at the office of the U.S. trade representative, site of intensive NAFTA talks over the last several weeks.
Officials familiar with the closed-door discussions say the Mexican contingent is not represented at this morning’s meeting.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been talking by phone with U.S. President Donald Trump and Mexico’s Enrique Pena Nieto in recent days, despite dwindling hope of reaching a deal on updating the continental trade pact.
Time is of the essence: Canada’s latest reprieve from potentially crippling U.S. tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum expires June 1, and there are fears they could go into effect without a NAFTA deal in place.
The three countries have been working around the clock in hopes of getting a deal in time for the current iteration of the U.S. Congress, and ahead of what’s expected to be a consequential election in Mexico July 1.
The rules surrounding autos remain a major sticking point, which as left stakeholders and observers alike skeptical that Freeland will be able to accomplish anything substantial during her visit.
The Canadian Press