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Despite some contentious issues still on the table, the increasingly positive tone contrasted with U.S. President Donald Trump's harsh criticism of Canada in recent weeks, raising hopes that the year-long talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement will conclude soon with a trilateral deal.

"One of the things I think we're accomplishing in this agreement is a better deal for Canadian and American auto workers", Freeland said Friday, praising the "rules of origin" agreement between the United States and Mexico to raise the amount of content in a vehicle that is produced in North America and ensure that 40 to 45 percent of the car's content is made by workers earning at least $16 an hour.

Trump said in a Bloomberg interview: "Canada's going to make a deal at some point".

The Toronto Star quoted Trump as saying that any trade deal with Canada would be "totally on our terms". "Actually fixing NAFTA requires reaching a trade agreement with both Mexico and Canada that improves the wages, the working conditions and the well-being of America's workers and farmers", Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said.

"We know that a win-win-win agreement is within reach", Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters after a week of talks to rewrite the 25-year-old NAFTA.

"Raising wages for auto workers in Mexico is directly a way for the United States to push more manufacturing back into the United States because it reduces the attractiveness of Mexico as a jurisdiction for manufacturing", she said.

USA labor leaders have been supportive of Trump's NAFTA push, but they, too, want Canada on board.

Perhaps by coincidence or maybe out of necessity, the U.S. trade representative broke his silence for the first time since Tuesday, saying Canada has not compromised on a key sticking point.


KEVIN DIETSCH/UPI/NewscomPresident Donald Trump has confirmed that he publicly said he couldn't publicly say that he was killing a trade deal with Canada, because it would kill the trade deal with Canada, which is now dead.

However, he and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have both said they are hopeful a deal is close.

According to The New York Times, talks between the United States and Canada remained deadlocked over several contentious issues, including Canada's dairy sector, its rules governing movies, books and other media, and a mechanism for settling trade disputes between the two countries.

Trump has informed Congress that it plans to go ahead with its trade deal with Mexico. Lawmakers could reject the administration's accord with Mexico on these grounds if Canada isn't part of a final agreement. The White House notified Congress on Friday of its "intent to sign a trade agreement with Mexico - and Canada, if it is willing - 90 days from now".

"We'll keep talking until we reach a good deal", Freeland said.

While Freeland said the United States trade team was negotiating in good faith, a Canadian source told AFP that Ottawa expressed their disapproval to Lighthizer.

Trump argues Canada's hefty dairy tariffs are hurting US farmers, an important political base for his Republican Party - though his tariff actions against China have virtually eliminated USA soybean sales there. Mexico didn't get any reprieve in its own agreement on Monday. The United States wants to eliminate Chapter 19, the mechanism that has hindered it from pursuing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases. "The question is, Do we have 25 percent tariffs on our cars and no NAFTA in order to make a point about Chapter 19?"


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