Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland will head to Washington on Thursday and while the plan is not to announce a new NAFTA deal this week, a source told Global News that negotiators are hoping to close several of the remaining chapters.
Freeland will meet with her United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo to check in on the state of talks but to also do some of the heavy lifting themselves, according to the government source, who also noted negotiations have continued since she was last there on April 6.
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Over the last 11 days, chief negotiators and their teams have been in D.C. trying to hammer out a new deal in what Freeland has described as a “new, more intensive phase.”
According to the source, this week discussions are centring around key sectors like agriculture, environment, cross-border investment and labour.
Talks have intensified in recent weeks with both Mexico and the U.S. hoping to announce a deal in principle as both countries head towards elections in the summer and fall.
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A new NAFTA is not expected to be announced on Thursday after the three trade representatives meet, but the source says it’s possible they will announce the closing of more chapters.
Freeland is expected to spend the day in Washington on Thursday and then head to Toronto where she will host the foreign ministers of G7 countries ahead of the leaders’ summit June 8-9 in Charlevoix, Que.