The U.S. and Canada have agreed on a trade deal that would save the North American Free Trade Agreement as a trilateral bloc, according to three people familiar with the matter.
President Donald Trump has approved the developments and the expectation is that an agreement will be announced on Sunday night, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian officials are working on the final touches.
U.S. and Canadian negotiators have been negotiating around the clock this weekend to make a Sunday midnight deadline that would allow the countries to sign the deal as the final act before Mexico’s outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto leaves office at the end of November.
All day various media have been reporting on desperate, intense, and generally fast-moving last minute negotiations as a midnight deadline looms for Canada to join the U.S-Mexico trade agreement. Expect the critical details to be framed around “Side Letters”. Carve-outs within an agreement which remove the contentious aspects.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland abandoned a U.N. speech to rush back to Canada on Friday night. Tonight Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went to Ottawa to join the Canadian negotiating team in a series of back-and-forth conference calls between the U.S. and Canadian government. USTR Robert Lighthizer and trade envoy Jared Kushner have been briefing President Trump throughout the day.