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Freeland says it will be a ‘tough challenge’ to get U.S. to ratify CUSMA

Click to play video 'Freeland says Canada respects Mexico and U.S. domestic ratification process' Freeland says Canada respects Mexico and U.S. domestic ratification process
WATCH: Freeland says Canada respects Mexico and U.S. domestic ratification process

Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland on Thursday said it would be a “tough challenge” to get a new three-nation continental trade agreement ratified by the United States.

READ MORE: Trump puts pressure on Congress to finalize CUSMA during Trudeau NATO meeting

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement was signed in November 2018 but formal U.S. approval has been held up by Democratic lawmakers pressing the Trump administration for changes, including steps on drug protections.

Freeland said she was working closely with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mexico’s deputy foreign minister in a bid to find a solution.

“It’s a tough challenge the three NAFTA countries face,” Freeland told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, using the acronym of the trade pact that last year’s agreement is meant to replace.

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Click to play video 'NATO summit: Trudeau ‘looking forward’ to ratification of CUSMA' NATO summit: Trudeau ‘looking forward’ to ratification of CUSMA
NATO summit: Trudeau ‘looking forward’ to ratification of CUSMA

House Democrats have voiced concerns over the enforcement of labour and environmental provisions. Late last month, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a version of the deal she could back was within range.

“I think he (Lighthizer) is doing a terrific job but it’s difficult … the Americans right now face the challenge of looking for common ground between Speaker Pelosi and the administration of President Trump. And that is a challenge and we should be candid about that,” said Freeland.