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U.S.-Canada trade talks to resume after deadline lapse

Despite the United States and Canada failing to reach an agreement on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement by Friday's deadline, officials said talks will resume next week.

President Donald Trump had imposed a Friday deadline on renegotiating the nearly quarter-century-old three-way trade pact with Canada and Mexico after announcing a preliminary deal with Mexico on Monday. Trump plans to terminate NAFTA, saying the name has a "bad connotation," and referred to the new agreement with Mexico as the U.S.-Mexico Free Trade Agreement and threatened new tariffs on Canada if it doesn't cooperate.

However, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Friday despite failure to meet the deadline that revised trade pact negotiations would continue.

The talks with Canada were "constructive, and we made progress," Lighthizer said in a statement Friday. "Our officials are continuing to work toward agreement," he said, adding that U.S. trade officials will meet with their Canadian counterparts next Wednesday.

Trump also notified Congress in a formal letter Friday of his intent to sign a trade agreement with Mexico, "and with Canada if it is willing, in a timely manner, to meet the high standards for free, fair, and reciprocal trade contained therein."

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland also confirmed trade talks were back on at a news conference, NPR News reported.

"We know that a win-win-win agreement is within reach and that is what we are working toward," she said. "We've made good progress, but there's still work to be done."

While the exact new timetable is not clear for when Canada will join the pact, people familiar with the process estimate the new deadline could extend to Sept. 30.

According to the law, the Trump administration would have to make the final text for a trade pact public by Sept. 30, so he could sign it by Nov. 30, a day before Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto leaves office to be replaced by now president-elect Andres Manual Lopez Obrador.

The new agreement would replace NAFTA, a deal that has removed trade barriers between the three countries since 1994 in an effort to stimulate trade.
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