Canada is “on track” to sign the renegotiated free trade deal with the United States and Mexico on Friday as officials from all three countries work feverishly to iron out the last details, Canada's foreign affairs minister said Thursday.
“Our objective has always been to sign this agreement on November 30, and we are on track to hit that objective,” Chrystia Freeland told reporters in Buenos Aires, where she is attending the annual G20 Summit.
The US and Mexico had signalled that they were ready to sign the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) at the summit, and Freeland was asked what was holding up the deal for Canada.
“As is always the case with these agreements, there are always details to be finalized and we are very hard at work doing that,” Freeland said.
A spokesman for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau later tweeted that the new trade deal would be signed in Buenos Aires on Friday.
"Tomorrow morning in Buenos Aires, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will join President Donald Trump & President [Enrique Pena Nieto] for a signing ceremony of the new North American free trade deal which strengthens the economy & jobs in Canada," spokesman Cameron Ahmad tweeted.
Canadian officials had been in touch with their US and Mexican counterparts from the moment they arrived in Buenos Aires and would be working with them throughout Thursday, Freeland said.
“These agreements are massive and a vast number of technical details need to be scrubbed and wrapped up,” Freeland said.
“The fact that this is an agreement in three languages adds to the level of technical complexity and it is on that level that we’re just being sure that all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s are crossed,” she said.
The three countries agreed a deal in principle to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after 14 months of bareknuckle talks concluded with a last minute bargain on September 30.