Lighthizer, Freeland Meet Tuesday to Discuss Trade Deal

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his Canadian counterpart, Chrystia Freeland, are meeting in Toronto to discuss the next steps for their new trilateral trade deal, according to both countries.

It’s their first in-person meeting since a deal was reached Sept. 30 to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, which will be renamed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

It’s also the two negotiators’ first meeting on Canadian soil since a round of talks held in Montreal earlier this year. Jeffrey Emerson, a USTR spokesman, confirmed the meeting and said Lighthizer and Freeland would discuss next steps on the trade deal.

"Minister Freeland was pleased to welcome Ambassador Lighthizer to Toronto this evening for a short working dinner. The Minister and Ambassador used this opportunity to take stock of the next steps on the USMCA," Adam Austen, a spokesman for Freeland, said in an emailed statement.

The countries expect to sign the deal by Nov. 30, before Mexico’s incoming president takes office. It would then need to be ratified by lawmakers.

“On Tuesday, Ambassador Lighthizer met with Minister Freeland in Toronto to discuss the recent conclusion of the USMCA,” Emily Davis, a spokeswoman for Lighthizer, said. “He enjoyed a cordial dinner with her and her family during the visit.”

One unresolved trade issue between the countries are U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum imports, and Canadian dollar-for-dollar retaliatory tariffs. The countries didn’t indicate whether the two officials would discuss that.

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