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International Relations

The United States hopes to strike a quick bargain with Canada after reaching an agreement with Mexico this week on continent-wide trade, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday.

Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland was due in Washington to begin talks later Tuesday, one day after U.S. President Donald Trump suggested he could cut Ottawa out of any final deal if disagreements persist in the year-long efforts to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). “I think our objective is to try to get Canada aboard quickly,” Mr. Mnuchin said on CNBC.

“The U.S. market and Canadian markets are very intertwined. It’s important for them to get this deal and it’s important for us to get this deal.” Washington and Mexico City on Monday announced that they had smoothed over disagreements, agreeing to a regular review process to reauthorise the trade deal and higher wages for certain auto workers, among other matters.

Mr. Mnuchin said he was optimistic that Canada could be won over — but, like Mr. Trump, he warned that absent an agreement with Ottawa, Washington could take a bilateral route.

Canada “will only sign a new NAFTA that is good for Canada”, a spokesman for Ms. Freeland said Monday.

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