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Canada’s ambassador to Washington said the U.S. and Canada have made a lot of progress in free trade talks but there is no deal yet.
Ambassador David MacNaughton said Sunday evening in Ottawa there are a couple of tough issues left to resolve. MacNaughton said he isn’t sure if they will reach an agreement by Monday but said he’s cautiously optimistic.
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“Lots of progress but we’re not there yet,” MacNaughton told reporters. “It’s never done until its done.”
The U.S. and Canada are under pressure to reach a deal by the end of the day Sunday, when the U.S. must make public the full text of the agreement with Mexico.
Canada, the United States’ No. 2 trading partner, was left out when the U.S. and Mexico reached an agreement last month to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.
U.S. President Donald Trump has said he wants to go ahead with a revamped NAFTA — with or without Canada. It is unclear, however, whether Trump has authority from Congress to pursue a revamped NAFTA with only Mexico, and some lawmakers say they won’t go along with a deal that leaves out Canada.
Among other things, the negotiators are battling over Canada’s high dairy tariffs. Canada also wants to keep a NAFTA dispute-resolution process that the U.S. wants to jettison.
U.S.-Canada talks bogged down earlier this month, and most trade analysts expected the Sept. 30 deadline to come and go without Canada being reinstated. They suspected that Canada, which had said it wasn’t bound by U.S. deadlines, was delaying the talks until after provincial elections Monday in Quebec, where support for Canadian dairy tariffs runs high.