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NAFTA progress doesn’t stop Freeland from heading to Europe on diplomatic trip

RICHMOND, B.C. — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland will be travelling to Europe next week on a diplomatic mission that’s raising questions about whether Canada expects to return to the bargaining table soon for the three-country NAFTA talks.

Speaking to reporters in Richmond, B.C., Freeland says it’s important for Canada to continue to do its work around the world — even with signs of progress in the bilateral NAFTA negotiations between the U.S. and Mexico.

There’s optimism that the U.S. and Mexico are close to sorting out their one-on-one sticking points, which would open the door for Canada to rejoin the negotiations.

Freeland was asked whether her European trip meant she didn’t expect a breakthrough next week in the NAFTA talks.

She replied by saying Canada will return to the NAFTA table for trilateral talks once the American and Mexican governments resolve their bilateral issues — particularly their differences on automotive rules of origin.

Freeland didn’t directly say whether she would cut her European trip short if Canada is invited back to the table.

She says the five-day trip to Europe will focus on Canada’s key relationships with France, Germany and Ukraine.

The Canadian Press

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