Canada on track to sign new NAFTA Friday: Freeland


The United States and Mexico are expected to sign the USMCA trade deal at the global gathering, and Freeland was questioned whether or not it was still Canada's intention to join them, given the outstanding steel and aluminum tariffs.

"Our objective has always been to sign this agreement on November 30 and we are on track to hit that objective", Freeland said shortly after the Canadian delegation arrived in Argentina for the two-day summit.

Late on Thursday however, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's spokeswoman confirmed Trudeau, Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, Trump, and Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland would attend the ceremony at 9 Buenos Aires (1200 GMT).

Canada was on track to sign the U.S. -Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), she said in televised remarks, adding that one of the issues was that the deal still needed to be translated into three languages.

Signing the deal is largely ceremonial; it still requires ratification by all three countries before it can formally take effect. They agreed on a deal in principle to govern the more than trillion dollars of mutual trade after a year and a half of acrimonious negotiations concluded with a late-night bargain just an hour before a deadline on September 30.

Rota told CKAT that Canada's big concern is the tariffs on aluminum and steel which haven't been lifted yet by the U.S.

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The deal - 32 chapters, 11 annexes and 12 side letters - sets new rules for the auto sector, including a higher threshold for North American content and rules requiring 40 per cent of vehicle parts be made by workers paid at least $16 an hour.

USA objections to Canada's protected internal market for dairy products was a major challenge facing negotiators during the talks, and Trump repeatedly demanded concessions and accused Canada of hurting US farmers.

In a letter released Thursday, the Dairy Farmers of Canada warned that the text of the deal gives the USA too much say over how the Canadian system is managed, and urged the government to stand down until that provision is excised.

Then there are the deeper wounds.

During the final week of talks, Trump punctuated the tensions during a freewheeling news conference on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly: "We don't like their representative very much", he said, an apparent reference to Freeland.