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MPs face summer recall for new NAFTA approval if no U.S. progress next week

Written by on June 12, 2019

OTTAWA — The Canadian Press has learned the Liberal government is prepared to recall Parliament this summer to ratify the new North American trade agreement.

The government wants to move “in tandem” with the United States toward final legal approval of the new agreement, says a senior government official who wasn’t authorized to speak for attribution because of the sensitivity of the process.

The source says Canada does not want to get too far ahead of the Trump administration in ratifying the new deal, and that it is not clear obstacles in the U.S. Congress can be overcome before the House of Commons’ session expires next week.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is in Washington today for meetings with U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and she will be on Capitol Hill on Thursday for talks with Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

The government expects to have a better sense of the way forward for Canada after those meetings.

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence promised to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement by “the summer” during his recent visit to Ottawa, while the Mexican ambassador to Canada has said his country’s Senate will give final approval at its own extended legislative session this coming Monday or Tuesday.

The Canadian Press