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Canadian envoy says she is ’encouraged’ by NAFTA talks

WASHINGTON — Canada’s top trade negotiator says she’s “encouraged” by urgent discussions that are intended to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Leaving a morning session with U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland tells reporters, “We continue to be encouraged by the constructive atmosphere that I think both countries are bringing to the table.”

On Monday, the United States and Mexico reached an agreement to replace NAFTA, a 24-year-old pact involving those two countries and Canada. But the new deal excluded Canada.

Freeland hurried to Washington to try to repair the damage. She’s seeking to forge a three-country deal by Friday, starting a 90-day countdown that would let Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto sign the pact before leaving office Dec. 1.

“We’re working very intensively,” Freeland says.