August 28, 2018 10:26 pm
Updated: August 28, 2018 10:28 pm

Mexico made ‘significant concessions’ in new trade deal with U.S: Chrystia Freeland

WATCH: Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Mexico has made some "significant concessions" in labour rules as well as in the rules of origins of cars, both of which she says should help Canada in trade negotiations with the U.S.

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Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said her meeting Tuesday with United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer was “a very good, constructive conversation” about how to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Freeland told reporters after the meeting she and her team plan to work this week in “a full-steam effort” and said both parties will start diving into specific issues Wednesday morning.

WATCH: Freeland says she had ‘constructive’ trade talks with U.S. negotiators

Freeland hurried to Washington a day after the Trump administration reached a preliminary deal Monday with Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

She doesn’t have much time, because Lighthizer intends to formally notify Congress of the deal with Mexico on Friday.

Freeland said both parties “are set for an important and constructive week” but also warned that “we are prepared for all scenarios.”

WATCH: Freeland says Mexico-U.S. NAFTA negotiations is only on bilateral issues

She said significant concessions from Mexico in the areas of labor and rules of origin on cars “really paved the way for what Canada believes will be a good week.”

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Mexico had agreed to ensure that 75 percent of automotive content be produced within the trade bloc (up from a current 62.5 percent) to receive duty-free benefits and that 40 percent to 45 percent be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour. Those changes are meant to encourage more auto production in the United States.

READ MORE: New NAFTA could include tough intellectual property laws that Canada fought against in TPP

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is discussing how to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement with United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. (Aug. 28)

Tuesday’s meeting was the first time Freeland had met with her U.S. counterparts in Washington since May.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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