9/11 anniversary gives perspective to NAFTA impasse, Freeland says

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The U.S. and Mexico worked out a preliminary agreement last month, but Canada has yet to agree to the terms presented by the u-s.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland sounded sanguine on Wednesday as she emerged from negotiations with top USA trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer, although she cautioned that no trade deal was done until the last issue was nailed down.

Dairy has been singled out as a key hurdle, including on Friday when Larry Kudlow, a senior economic adviser to Trump, said in a Fox Business Network interview that what "continues to block the deal is m-i-l-k". In April 2017, Trump almost withdrew from NAFTA after becoming angered by the plight of Wisconsin dairy farmers whose milk protein exports to Canada had been cut off by the Class 7 pricing scheme.

US President Donald Trump also said the talks, which both countries intensified in recent weeks, were coming along well.

"At the end of the day, we're neighbours - and at the end of the day, neighbours help each other when they need help".

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he expected Canada to also scrap a two-year-old pricing agreement that has restricted U.S. exports of ultra-filtered milk used to make dairy products.

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The prime minister Justin Trudeau has been clear about its intentions: we do not assign the management of the offer.

After emerging from her meeting with Lighthizer on Friday, Freeland said the negotiations had entered a "very intense" phase, during which officials have been meeting "24-7". Lighthizer did not speak to the press or issue a statement.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer takes part in a joint news conference on the closing of the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City, Mexico March 5, 2018. While Reuters reported on Tuesday that Canada is prepared to make concessions on the issue, it is likely to face opposition among supporters of Trudeau's Liberal Party in Ontario and Quebec. "Nafta has been the worst trade deal ever".

The U.S. has said it plans to present Congress with the deal it has with Mexico if Canada doesn't get on board. Under U.S. trade negotiating laws, a text for that agreement is due by October 1. "We remain focused on what's in the interests of Canadians and what's in the interests of our workers and our country's economy".

David Wiens, vice president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada lobby group, said Canadian farmers have already given up around 5 percent of a domestic market worth around C$21 billion ($17 billion).

"Many have seen this market over the last few decades, from an American point of view, as just being off the table", Reed said in an interview with Global's "The West Block" that aired Sunday morning. "The previous two trade deals gave away a little bit and a little bit more, and so we don't want to go down the path of death by a thousand cuts".

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