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Freeland, who will cut short a diplomatic trip to Europe to re-enter the high-level talks, is making the sudden change in plans after U.S. President Donald Trump announced Monday that the U.S. and Mexico had reached a bilateral trade "understanding" that could lead to an overhaul - or perhaps the termination - of the three-country agreement.

But any agreement "will hinge on whether or not there is ultimately a good deal for Canada", Trudeau said at a student rally in northern Ontario. Freeland's spokesman Adam Austen said in a statement Canada "will only sign a new NAFTA that is good for Canada and good for the middle class".

Ottawa is also ready to make concessions on Canada's protected dairy market in a bid to save a dispute-settlement system, The Globe and Mail reported late on August 28.

The U.S. and Mexico have apparently agreed that 75 per cent of the content of cars sold must come from the U.S. or Mexico.

Mexico's effort "clears the way for us to have some significant, substantive, and, I think, productive conversations with the United States this week", Freeland said.

Canadian and Mexican officials were also due to meet on Tuesday evening, Freeland said.

For now, Canadian negotiators are primarily focused on bilateral talks with the Americans. Trump's insistence on including that in the trade pact drew swift rebukes from Canada and Mexico.

The potential political cost of bargaining with supply management was evident on Wednesday as Quebec's Liberal leader, and current premier, Philippe Couillard said there would be "serious political consequences" if there were any further tinkering with the system.

While critics said Canada had been frozen out, Freeland has repeatedly stressed to reporters that she remained in close touch with her USA and Mexican counterparts throughout the summer and had already achieved "a high-level agreement with the US" on some the pending issues on autos and labor rights. Second, it gives the United States top billing, which could be interpreted as an affront to Mexicans and Canadians.

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"I see no procedural barrier to a bilateral deal", he says. Officials from the dairy lobby were unavailable for interviews.

Trump backed off from an initial U.S. demand for a "sunset" clause that would kill the pact unless it was renegotiated every five years and which businesses said would stymie long term investment in the region.

"This is a very intense moment in the negotiations and we're trying to get a lot of things done very quickly", she said. He said: "You know, they have tariffs of nearly 300 per cent on some of our dairy products, so we can't have that".

"We have been encouraged by the progress made by our NAFTA partners over the past weeks", Trudeau said. Canada can sign on up until that ratification, which could be at the end of November.

Mexican officials have insisted all along that NAFTA must be a trilateral deal and they have remained in Washington to participate in the talks.

Friday is when Lighthizer will send a letter to Congress, which starts a 90-day clock for lawmakers to look over the agreement for ratification.

The United States and Mexico finalized a trade agreement this week - a "positive development" for Canada, according to the Canadian American Business Council. Canada has used the provision to challenge United States anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

But Washington backed away from a strenuously-opposed provision to require the three nations to renegotiate the trade pact after five years. If after the review there is no consensus to renew, a review will be conducted every year until disagreements can be worked out and the parties agree to then renew for another 16 years. A text of the actual deal has to be made public at least 60 days before signing.


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