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USMCA text still being finalized as leaders gather to sign trade deal

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OTTAWA – A day before Canada, the United States and Mexico are due to sign a new trade pact, the three sides are still finalizing some of the details, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Thursday.

READ MORE: Canada pushing back against U.S. attempts to change text of USMCA deal: official

Freeland, speaking to reporters in Buenos Aires before a Group of 20 summit, said Canada was on track to sign the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on Friday. Canadian officials would be working with their U.S. and Mexican counterparts later on Thursday, she added.

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“As is always the case … with these agreements, there are always details to be finalized and we are very hard at work doing that,” Freeland said in televised remarks.

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The three countries agreed a deal in principle to govern the trillion dollars of mutual trade after a year and a half of contentious talks concluded with a late night bargain just an hour before a deadline on Sept. 30.

READ MORE: Republicans want LGBTQ clause cut from USMCA – should trade talks dictate social policy?

Since then, Canadian officials complained the United States is trying to change elements of the pact that the sides had agreed on, sources have said.

Dairy remains a sticking point between the two, four sources familiar with the matter said this week.

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NDP calls USMCA ‘shifty agreement’ and urges PM not to sign
NDP calls USMCA ‘shifty agreement’ and urges PM not to sign

— Reporting by David Ljunggren Editing by Susan Thomas.