As previewed yesterday, ahead of tonight’s midnight deadline for a Nafta deal between the US and Canada, it appears that a deal has been agreed upon according to unconfirmed reports, with the only outstanding items being approval from Trudeau and Trump.
To that end, moments ago Canada’s CTV reported that Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a cabinet meeting for tonight at 10pm, “as senior Canadian officials appear to be close to a NAFTA deal.” Trudeau arrived at his office around 7 p.m., where high-level staff and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland have been working since early Sunday morning to secure a NAFTA deal.
BREAKING: Sources tell @CTVNews that Trudeau has convened a cabinet meeting on the Hill TONIGHT at 10 p.m. My understanding is that any minister who is in town has been asked to come in, others are to join by phone. #cdnpoli #NAFTA
— Rachel Aiello (@rachaiello) October 1, 2018
He took no questions from reporters who have gathered there to monitor the latest developments as the intense last-minute push before the U.S.-imposed midnight Sunday deadline inches closer.
— Mackenzie Gray (@Gray_Mackenzie) September 30, 2018
The end of day deadline is to work out a trilateral renegotiated text that can be presented to the U.S. Congress and can be signed off by the outgoing Mexican president before his term runs out on November 30, otherwise the U.S. and Mexico intend to go ahead without Canada.
According to a Bloomberg report, the two sides were discussing the last sticking points, including greater market access for U.S. supplies into Canada’s dairy market, in exchange for concessions from the Trump administration which was reportedly ready to agree with Canada’s wish to keep Chapter 19′s dispute-settlement mechanism.
Earlier on Sunday, Canada’s ambassador to Washington, David MacNaughton, said that talks are moving forward but not yet completed. “Lots of progress but we’re not there yet,” MacNaughton told reporters in Ottawa, where the Canadian team is gathered. He said he didn’t know if a deal would be reached Sunday, although an announcement now appears imminent.
Reaching a pact with Canada allows the 24-year-old pact to remain trilateral and for the U.S. to check another box for its legislative process in the lead up to a congressional vote.
As reported yesterday, last minute progress on negotiations was made thanks to Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner for helping smooth the path toward a deal.
When it looked like negotiations had stalled or broken down due to friction between the U.S. and Canadian sides, Kushner kept talks going with aides close to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, including Gerald Butts and Katie Telford, three people said.
Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar was rallying on anticipation of a deal, strengthening 0.5 percent, while the Mexican peso gained abut 0.2 percent. S&P futures rose 10 points ahead of the announcement.
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