- Tough talks - US President Donald Trump has been pushing for a complete overhaul of the 25-year-old continental trade deal, which he says has been a "rip-off" for the United States.
Even Justin Trudeau has been reportedly pulled into the fray: on what's usually a personal day for the prime minister, his itinerary says he'll spend today in "private meetings". "As far as we are concerned we want a deal that is good for Canadians and that's the bottom line", Transport Minister Marc Garneau told reporters in Ottawa.
The U.S. and Canada are close to a deal on Nafta and there's optimism it could be struck by a deadline this weekend, avoiding an impasse that would imperil $500 billion in annual trade, people familiar with the talks said.
The United States and Mexico have already reached a consensus following bilateral negotiations.
"There's still hope. This is good news", said one Mexican official close to the talks, who requested anonymity to discuss confidential deliberations.
Despite a US-set deadline of 30 September to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), negotiations have by all accounts come to a standstill.
After three-way talks stalled this summer, the USA and Mexico last month announced they had reached a separate deal.
Canadian and US negotiators are close to wrapping up a final NAFTA deal by early evening but the details may not be known until Monday.
Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo delivers a summary of NAFTA negotiations to Mexican Senator Ricardo Monreal during a meeting with senators at the Senate building in Mexico City, Mexico September 28, 2018.
"The ideal is a trilateral deal, but we're prepared for the possible need of a bilateral", he told Bloomberg News.
Trump's officials have argued that they need to publish the text by Sunday in order to let the outgoing Mexican president, Enrique Pena Nieto, sign the deal by his last full day in office, November 30, and avoid the possibility that Lopez Obrador will demand changes.
U.S. -Canada talks bogged down earlier this month, and most trade analysts expected the September 30 deadline to come and go without Canada being reinstated.
Will Canada and the United States thaw their unprecedented diplomatic chill and reach a deal to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement by a US-imposed Sunday deadline? Mexican-made products were hit by both of those actions aimed at protecting USA producers from import surges.
So-called Chapter 19 dispute panels, which the US wants to eliminate from Nafta and which Canada wants to preserveAn exemption for cultural sectors which Canada wants to preserveThe use of Section 232 investigations to apply tariffs to steel, aluminum, and potentially autos. He covers USA politics and current affairs.
In a lengthy press conference Wednesday, Trump said he rejected meeting Trudeau because of trade talks.
The release of the trade deal text will start a months-long process for USA congressional approval that will require a lengthy analysis by the independent US worldwide Trade Commission and notification periods before an up-or-down vote.
Meredith Lilly, an worldwide trade expert at Carleton University in Ottawa, said there's virtually nothing in the text that will take Canadian negotiators by surprise.