16:13 GMT24 September 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Canadian Foreign Minister Chyrstia Freeland told reporters on Tuesday she had constructive talks with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and looks forward to meeting her Mexican counterparts.

    Freeland is in Washington, DC to resume trade talks following Monday's announcement that a trade agreement was struck between the United States and Mexico as part of the efforts to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

    "We’re looking forward to meeting our Mexican counterparts later today," Freeland said. "So as I said, today we had a very good, constructive, first conversation for the week." The Canadian foreign minister added that they will begin discussing specific trade issues concerning the NAFTA on Wednesday.

    Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters Tuesday he continues to defend Canada’s supply management in the ongoing efforts to renegotiate the NAFTA agreement. "My position on defending supply management has not changed, we will defend supply management," Trudeau said.

    Trudeau stressed Ottawa is encouraged by the progress made between the United States and Mexico, which marks an important step toward advancing negotiations to improve NAFTA. Canada will join the US-Mexico agreement as long as it benefits Canada and its middle class, Trudeau added.

    On Monday, US President Donald Trump announced that the United States reached a preliminary trade deal with Mexico to replace NAFTA. In particular, the deal will change rules governing auto manufacturing in NAFTA in an attempt to bring more car production back to the United States, but little else is known about the latest agreement, which must eventually be approved by the US Congress.

    READ MORE: Canada Files WTO, NAFTA Litigation to Counter US 'Illegal' Tariffs

    The Mexican Automotive Industry Association (AMIA) said later on Tuesday that it was committed to ensuring Canada's integration into the new trade agreement that it took part in negotiating between the United States and Mexico.

    "We will continue to participate in the negotiations as part of the Room Together [consultation group] to integrate Canada in order to ensure that the outcome maintains the current plant production, the best integration in the North American region and the competitiveness of the region," AMIA said in a press release.

    AMIA emphasized that the negotiation process is not yet finished, adding that it is necessary for Canada to join the deal in order to complete the modernization of the trilateral pact, which promotes and consolidates the productive chains of the automotive sector.

    READ MORE: Trump Wants Bilateral Deal With Ottawa Instead of NAFTA — White House


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    trade, supply management, progress, deal, agreement, NAFTA, Robert Lighthizer, Donald Trump, Chrystia Freeland, Justin Trudeau, Mexico, Canada, United States
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