A day after President Trump threatened to exclude Canada from a revised North American Free Trade Agreement, top Canadian officials raced to Washington and said they were moving “full steam ahead” to try to reach a compromise that could save the trilateral pact.
“This is a really big deal,” Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, said on Tuesday after meeting with the United States trade representative. “We are encouraged by the progress that the U.S. and Mexico have made, particularly on cars and labor,” she said, adding that those concessions were “going to be valuable for workers in Canada and the United States.”
The last-ditch discussions come as Canada faces an ultimatum from the Trump administration, which has promised to ink a trade deal with Mexico in days and leave Canada from the pact. Ms. Freeland, who cut short a trip to Europe to fly to Washington, must now decide by Friday whether to join a revised pact that has been a source of contentious negotiations for a year or allow her country to be cast out of an agreement that has been critical to its economy.
“We will, as we have done throughout this negotiation, stand up for the Canadian national interest and for Canadian values while looking for areas where we can find a compromise,” she said, before heading to meet with Mexican officials.