Negotiators for both Canada and the U.S. are locked in what Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland describes as ”extremely intense” talks over some sensitive bilateral issues.
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)
”We have a huge amount of work to do this week. Officials are really grinding through,” said Canada’s point person on NAFTA.
While Freeland declined to name them, sources say Canada’s especially concerned with how Chapter 19 of the original North American Free Trade Agreement – the dispute resolution mechanism – has been renegotiated by the U.S. and Mexico.
Word is Canadian and American negotiators discussed Chapter 19 this morning and this afternoon will reportedly move on to Canada’s concerns with what Mexico agreed to on intellectual property rights.
There’ll also be more negotiations over what Washington and Mexico agreed to with respect to a sunset clause.
Asked if a deal could be reached by an American imposed Friday deadline, Freeland repeated she’s encouraged by progress made in talks between the U.S. and Mexico, which want a deal by then to ensure it can be sent to Congress for its mandatory 90-day review.
The incoming Mexican government also takes office December 1.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is confident Canada would ultimately join the deal because he says its economy ”can’t survive very well” without its southern neighbour.