Chrystia Freeland, Canadian negotiators heading back to Washington for NAFTA talks
Speaking with reporters following the Women in the World Summit in Toronto on Monday, she announced the news of resumed talks and said she will be meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to try and hammer out a deal.
“We will be travelling to Washington tomorrow, Tuesday,” Freeland said. “I and my team will be meeting with Ambassador Lighthizer and his team to continue the NAFTA negotiations.”
Negotiations have been going on for 13 months but disagreements over dispute resolution, cultural protection measures and how much access American farmers should be allowed to the Canadian dairy market have stalled talks so far.
As Global News reported last week, a deal is likely still a while away because American negotiators are refusing to reveal their bottom line and are putting pressure on Canada to figure out whether its bottom line is for real.
WATCH BELOW: Flexibility needed on all sides to get new NAFTA deal, Freeland says
Charlie Black, a Republican strategist, told the West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson he predicts a deal could come next week.
Freeland’s comments came following her appearance on a panel at the Women in the World Summit titled Taking on the Tyrant.
She told the audience members gathered for the talk on Monday that a global rise in authoritarianism was making Canadians more determined to protect liberal democracy.
“It’s always easiest to blame the other,” Freeland told the crowd in response to a question about why so many countries are encountering a wave of anti-immigrant backlash from their citizens and how that is empowering so-called strongmen.
“I obviously think that’s not right and knock on wood, we seem in Canada to still have a strong public consensus that’s the case.”
WATCH BELOW: Freeland explains why ‘Canada First’ is the wrong approach
She also echoed several of the sentiments expressed by former president Barack Obama in a speech at the University of Illinois last week in which he stressed the link between rising populism, the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, and the anxieties caused by the economic damage of the Great Recession.
“I really believe that, particularly in the industrialized West, this concern about the future and sense of uncertainty about the future, particularly when it comes to the economy, is extremely powerful,” Freeland said.
“That anxiety has come on top of very real, lived failure of capitalist democracy.”
She did not attack Trump directly but told Canadians are watching attacks on liberal democracy taking place around the world and are recognizing they “want to live in a world where might does not make right.”
It is not clear how long the talks in Washington will last but more details are expected shortly.
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