Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland arrives at the Office Of The United States Trade Representative, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Tough NAFTA talks ahead for Canada’s Freeland

Canada’s Freeland sits down with U.S. negotiators in Washington

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is in high-stakes meetings with her U.S. counterpart this morning in Washington as part of an accelerated search for areas of compromise to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Freeland cancelled her trip to Europe this week to return to the NAFTA bargaining table after the U.S. and Mexico agreed on numerous trade issues throughout their bilateral, summertime talks.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced the deal with Mexico on Monday and has pressured Canada to join new agreement by Friday — otherwise he says he will impose devastating tariffs on Canada’s auto sector.

RELATED: Facing new pressures, Canadian negotiators re-enter trade talks with US, Mexico

After being absent from a month of U.S.-Mexican discussions, Canada’s team is back in full force in the American capital for the first time since the spring and Freeland says the negotiators are intensively focused on finding new areas of compromise.

On her way in to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this morning, Freeland said she and her officials had already been hard at work since the crack of dawn, meeting with Mexican negotiators and working the phones.

Freeland says the Mexicans’ tough decision to compromise on labour and wages as part of its auto rules of origin talks with the U.S. has cleared the way for more substantive talks between Washington and Ottawa.

There are now big questions whether Canada is willing to open up access to its controversial supply-managed dairy market or if it will back away from its hard line to preserve NAFTA’s dispute settlement system.

RELATED: Freeland heads to Washington to rejoin high-stakes NAFTA negotiations

The U.S. has demanded that Canada move off its line on both issues as well as others.

Freeland met with the U.S. and Mexican delegations late Tuesday and again early Wednesday morning, and she says she’s hopeful the sides can find common ground — especially now that the U.S. and Mexico have an understanding on how to manage the continental auto industry.

When pressed by reporters, she has not provided details of what Canada might be putting on the table.

Freeland is meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, this morning near the White House.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Trial: Witness describes encounter with accused murderer while tending to fatally injured Descoteau

Wright said he was working in his yard when he heard a woman screaming.

Accused pleads not guilty as Trial opens in 2016 Chemainus murder

Colin John quietly entered not guilty pleas to both charges.

Cedar Yellow Point Artisan Tour marks 30 years of handmade art

Around 20 artists and artisans south of Nanaimo to open their studio doors

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

Postal strike affects charities at critical fundraising time

Canadian fundraising professionals and charities join call for fast resolution

$90,000 pen from space created by B.C man

The Space pen is made from a meteorite

B.C. woman fined $2,300 for clocking 215 km/hr in Alberta

It’s the highest fine Alberta police have issued

Watchdog calls for probe into police board spending on former Victoria police chief

Police Complaint Commissioner says accountable and transparent review is in public interest

South Korean named Interpol president in blow to Russia

South Korea’s Kim Jong Yang was elected as Interpol’s president edging out a longtime veteran of Russia’s security services.

E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickens 18 people in Ontario, Quebec

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce those who got ill were exposed to.

Trump defies calls to punish crown prince for writer’s death

The U.S. earlier sanctioned 17 Saudi officials suspected of being responsible for or complicit in the Oct. 2 killing, but members of Congress have called for harsher actions, including cancelling arms sales.

Most Read