Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland wrapped up two hours of talks Thursday with her USA counterpart in what has become a painstaking march for a deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement.
She told reporters that it was important to discuss a couple of issues face to face but offered no further details.
For a man who won the White House, in part, by trashing NAFTA, claiming it to be "one of the worst trade deals ever" this continuing contempt for the agreement is not surprising.
Canada and the U.S. are trying to agree on a text that could be submitted to the U.S. Congress by month's end in order to join the deal the Trump administration signed with Mexico last week.
"We're down to three issues: Chapter 19, the cultural issues and dairy. We've created leverage and driven Canada to the table", the USA official said. "The United States would rather have a trade deal with Canada, but it has to be a good deal". "I'll just say Bob Lighthizer is doing a great job and the president is encouraging it". "In a trade negotiation, nothing is done until everything is done", Freeland said.
Freeland expressed optimism late Wednesday.
"We are certainly making very good progress at understanding each other, understanding what each side needs", Freeland said.
Freeland departed the headquarters of the United States Trade Representative for the Canadian Embassy for several hours of consultations.
Commercial trucks exit the highway for the Bridge to Canada, in Detroit, Michigan U.S. August 30, 2018.
Flavio Volpe, the president of the Canada's Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, said he didn't think the latest bombshell would directly affect the negotiators inside the room.
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The Republican chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, Kevin Brady, a powerful voice in Congress on trade, told reporters differences remained between the two sides over Canada's dairy quota regime, a trade dispute resolution settlement procedure and "other longstanding issues". But those talks excluded Canada, the third NAFTA country.
The revised NAFTA deal, so the president said, would be "totally on our terms", that Canada would have "no choice" but to accept what Trump wants or face the consequences.
Chapter 19 of the previous treaty, which deals with the resolution of controversies in global panels, was not part of the agreement between Mexico and the US.
The hope is for a trilateral agreement in principle that Congress can approve before Mexico's new president takes office on December 1.
Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump's top economic adviser, told Fox Business that one issue is holding up a US-Canada trade deal: milk.
"Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very hard", Trump tweeted in April.
"They've treated us pretty badly in trade for the last 40 years, but that's OK, it wasn't my fault".
"We are always going to stand up for the national interest and Canadian values", Freeland Friday.
The next deadline comes up at the end of the month, when the USA would need to publish text of an agreement in order to sign it before Mexico's president-elect takes office December 1. Canadian officials also are aware that US business and labor groups are pushing Trump to keep NAFTA as a trilateral deal. A day earlier, she said "Canada is focused on Canada" when pressed on the importance of deadlines. But if it doesn't, the USA can live with that.