Report: NAFTA Talks With Canada Far From ‘Productive’

REUTERS/David Lawder

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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According to a report from the Canadian Press, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called Canada’s talks ongoing NAFTA talks with the United States “productive” and “constructive” just last week, but other sources say that is not the case.

Freeland, who is Canada’s lead negotiator, has consistently accentuated the positive when speaking to reporters after hours of negotiating with President Donald Trump’s trade representative, Robert Lighthizer.

Instead, anonymous government sources told CP that the talks are seriously stalled and that Canada was completely broadsided when Trump announced a bilateral deal with Mexico. Freeland blasted her Mexican counterparts over the deal, according to the report.

“She brought them in for that purpose,” one source told the press agency, who denied there has been much “goodwill” on the table since Freeland blasted the Mexicans for negotiating without Canada present.

With Parliament resuming Monday, Freeland and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are both in Ottawa and are expected to be in the hot seat for the afternoon Question Period.

Many are still wondering why Freeland — in the middle of sensitive negotiations — attended a forum in Toronto that presented a video comparing Trump to anti-democratic tyrants. (RELATED: Canadian Foreign Minister Negotiating NAFTA Participates In Forum Linking Trump To Dictators)

Mexican negotiator Kenneth Smith Ramos hasn’t publicly talked about the friction between his country and Canada but tweeted last week, that “Mexico stated from the beginning of the negotiation that the ideal scenario is for NAFTA to remain trilateral,” CP noted.

“We hope the U.S. and Canada will conclude their bilateral negotiation shortly. If that is not possible we are ready to advance bilaterally with the U.S.”

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