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Canada reaches a trade deal with U.S. & Mexico under new name

Last Updated Sep 30, 2018 at 8:48 pm PDT

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau arrives for an emergency cabinet meeting on the NAFTA negotiations in Ottawa on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. Federal cabinet ministers were being summoned to a late-night meeting Sunday with the prime minister amid signs that the fall finale to Canada's long-running NAFTA drama may finally be at hand — with the famous unpredictability of the man in the White House giving everyone cause for caution. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Summary

Canada reaches deal with US and Mexico after late night cabinet meeting in Ottawa

OTTAWA – Sources tell The Canadian Press an 11th-hour NAFTA deal has been reached that allows Canada to rejoin the trilateral trade pact.

The new agreement will be called the United-States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMC).

Insiders got wind of a breakthrough after 14 months of tumultuous talks and just hours before U.S. and Mexican trade authorities were set to publish their own trade agreement without Canada.

Federal cabinet ministers were summoned to a late Sunday meeting at the prime minister’s office near Parliament Hill, and the White House called its own late-night trade briefing.

“It’s a good day for Canada,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the meeting wrapped up just over an hour after it started.

And with that, he said he would talk to reporters Monday. PMO officials say there will be another cabinet meeting in the morning and a news conference likely as well.

 

Meantime, congratulations were being offered among key stakeholders who have been on the edge of their seats to see if Canada and the United States would find common ground.

An agreement on how to treat the auto sector, reached this summer between the United States and Mexico, was central to a revamped NAFTA going ahead.

RELATED: Trudeau calls Cabinet meeting Sunday night

But the U.S. and Canada had trouble dealing with other areas in the pact, including Canada’s dairy industry, its insistence on a strong dispute settlement mechanism and concerns about intellectual property and culture.

After weeks of hunkering down in Washington, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., had spent the day in Ottawa taking part in an aggressive, long-distance, last-minute push to get Canada into the trilateral free trade deal ahead of a key congressional deadline.

RELATED: No panic from Trudeau government as U.S.-imposed NAFTA deadline, auto tariff threats loom

Central to the discussions Sunday was an effort to secure some sort of assurance that would allow Canada to avoid the dreaded Section 232 tariffs on steel, aluminum and auto exports, which U.S. President Donald Trump has either threatened or already imposed on national security grounds.

Canada had been offering the Americans better access to its protected dairy market in the hopes of winning American concessions on dispute settlement.
Trudeau has promised repeatedly to keep the country’s supply management system intact, despite pressure from Trump. The issue has also figured prominently in Quebec, where voters go to the polls in a provincial election on Monday.

– With files from Cormac Mac Sweeney