Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks to reporters outside the offices of her counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. (The Canadian Press)

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

Canada’s foreign affairs minister underlined anniversary at start of another day of trade talks

Canada’s foreign affairs minister says Tuesday’s anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States should serve as a reminder of the deep ties between the two countries as they haggle over the future of North American free trade.

Chrystia Freeland underlined the anniversary at the start of another day of trade talks aimed at breaking an impasse on a renewed North American Free Trade Agreement.

The renegotiation of the 24-year-old NAFTA, which also includes Mexico and is integral to the continent’s economy, has dragged on for 13 months.

The in-person, high-level negotiations got back underway as events marking the 17th anniversary of the 2001 attacks took place around the U.S., including at the Pentagon with Vice President Mike Pence, not far from where the trade meetings are taking place.

Freeland said the memorials should help to add some context to the ongoing negotiations on free trade that were started at Trump’s behest.

“Maybe that helps us all put into perspective the negotiations that we’re having — and also put into a little bit of historical perspective the importance and the significance of the relationship between Canada and the United States,” Freeland told reporters outside the offices of her counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

“At the end of the day we’re neighbours, and at the end of the day, neighbours help each other when they need help.”

READ MORE: B.C., New York first responders remember fallen 9-11 comrades

Freeland and Lighthizer left the bargaining table Friday without a deal following two weeks of negotiations. She said she spoke with Lighthizer over the weekend and they agreed it would be useful for them to meet again face to face.

“The conversations over the weekend continued to be constructive and productive,” she said.

Freeland will spend Tuesday in the U.S. capital before she heads to Saskatoon to attend Liberal caucus meetings that begin later in the day and run through Thursday.

Lighthizer spent Monday in Brussels for trade discussions with the European Union — preliminary talks that are scheduled to resume later this fall.

Ottawa and Washington are trying to reach an agreement that could be submitted to the U.S. Congress by month’s end. A deal would see Canada join a preliminary trade agreement the Trump administration struck last month with Mexico.

The two sides have so far been unable to resolve their differences over U.S. access to the Canadian dairy market, a cultural exemption for Canada and the Chapter 19 dispute resolution mechanism.

A Canadian source with knowledge of the NAFTA discussions says an agreement is within reach, but getting there will require flexibility from all sides.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during an interview Tuesday with a Winnipeg radio station, CJOB, that there are certain positions Canada has and remain firm on. But he said the Liberals plan to be flexible on other issues in order to get a deal.

“It’s time to update this deal after 25 years. We’re just going to stay working constructively to get to that win, win, win that we know is there,” he said in the interview.

There is another wild card in Washington: hurricane Florence, a monster Category 4 storm that’s bearing down on the U.S. east coast and is sure to make its presence felt in the national capital area later in the week.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey man found guilty in West Kelowna killing of common-law spouse

Tejwant Danjou was convicted of second-degree murder in the July 2018 death of Rama Gauravarapu in West Kelowna

New collective debuts with Crescent Beach show

Nela Hallwas and Lyn Verra-Lay team for ‘Flow’

Former students’ mural showcasing Delta elementary school’s new logo on hold, for now

Ashriya and Karam Purewal painted the spirit logo last spring; formal logo mural delayed due to COVID

Police ask for help to identify suspect in alleged Surrey break-and-enter

Surrey RCMP say two men ‘kicked down the front door’ of the home

Surrey monitoring traffic as vehicles again clog city streets

Compared with city’s 2019 weekly average, deepest volume reduction was in late March with up to 46 per cent less vehicles

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

35,000 doses of fentanyl part of huge Maple Ridge bust

Largest seizure in RCMP detachment’s history included submachine gun, body armour

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read