Nov 28, 2019

By Jane Brown

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Canada’s new deputy prime minister is in Washington for meetings to get the new North American free trade deal “across the finish line.”

Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, left, is welcomed by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer as she arrives at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office for talks on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement on trade, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Chrystia Freeland sat down Wednesday night with U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer along with the Mexico Undersecretary for North America.

Following the closed door session, Freeland told reporters, Canada believes in this agreement.

“We have a strong interest in having this deal ratified in all three countries, and were very supportive of the efforts being made by Ambassador Lighthizer, of the efforts being made by Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Neal,” Freeland explained.

Talks are scheduled to continue over the next few days.

A deal in principle between the U.S. Democrats and Donald Trump’s administration reportedly could be reached as early as next week, and that’s why Freeland headed to Washington suddenly on Wednesday.

The new USMCA was reached in September of 2018. So far, only Mexico has ratified the agreement, but in order for the deal to come into force, it needs to be ratified by all three countries in their respective legislative bodies.

Here in Canada, the minority Liberals will have to re-introduce the legislation when the new parliament convenes December 5th. It made it through second reading in the House before dying on the order paper in September when parliament ended ahead of the election call.

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