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    FILE - In this Tuesday, March 14, 2017, file photo, United States Trade Representative-nominee Robert Lighthizer, foreground, looks at documents during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

    US to Restart NAFTA Talks With Canada Next Week

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States and Canada should demonstrate flexibility in trade negotiations in order to finally achieve a deal favorable for both parties, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters in Washington, DC.

    "It is going to take flexibility on all sides to get to a deal in the end," Freeland said on Friday upon the conclusion of talks with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. "We are always going to stand up for national interests and for Canadian values."

    Canada, she added, firmly believes that a win-win-win agreement for all three parties, including Mexico, is within reach, but Ottawa would not sign a deal that does not benefit Canadian workers. Freeland emphasized the United States and Canada now understand each other's positions very well and can work on finding compromises.

    Earlier this week, Trump said that Friday was the deadline for concluding trade talks with Canada. When asked whether there are any deadlines for signing an accord, Freeland said," When we get a good deal, we are done."

    The foreign minister also said Lighthizer and his team have been negotiating in good faith and good will, but their positions on several issues still differ. She noted the parties have agreed not to negotiate in public and, therefore, Freeland did not specify what issues are still in the way of striking a deal.

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    Robert Lighthizer said in a statement earlier on Friday that Washington and Ottawa would restart talks next week as US President Donald Trump hopes for a deal to be reached within three months.

    "Today, the President notified the Congress of his intent to sign a trade negotiation with Mexico — and Canada, if it is willing — 90 days from now," the statement said. "The USTR team will meet with [Canadian Foreign] Minister Freeland and her colleagues Wednesday of next week." The talks that took place this week between the United States and Canada were constructive and made progress, the statement added.

    Congress and some civil society advisers will spend the next few weeks looking at the US-Mexico agreement that Trump intends to sign, according to the USTR.

    Trump sent Friday a letter to the US House of Representatives, saying that his administration has worked hard with Mexico and Canada since negotiations began on August 16, 2017 to reach a modern trade agreement. The US president said they are working towards reaching an agreement that will help American farmers with fairer market conditions and improved access to products.

    The new agreement, he added, will include strong labor and environmental rules and tighter intellectual property protections and will help US workers.

    "It will create a more level playing field for American workers — due in part to improved rules of origin for automobiles, trucks, and other products," Trump said in the letter on Friday. The agreement they are targeting to finalize will also provide robust protections against currency manipulation, Trump added.

    However, during a Friday speech in North Carolina Trump said that Canada had taken advantage of the United States. "I love Canada, but they've taken advantage of our country for many years," Trump said.

    On Tuesday, Trump announced a 16-year preliminary agreement in principle between the United States and Mexico. A new trade deal with Mexico and Canada would potentially replace NAFTA.


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