- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 5, 2018

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that NAFTA talks had advanced “in a significant way,” signaling a deal was in the works as the negotiations entered a final stage with high-level officials meeting in Washington.

“We are in a moment where we are moving forward in a significant way. Hopefully, there will be some good news coming,” Mr. Trudeau said in Quebec City. “Right now, we are having a very productive moment.”

The upbeat assessment contrasted with President Trump’s recent threat to tear up the three-way trade deal over illegal immigration across the U.S. border with Mexico.

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Despite tough issues still being worked out, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said last week that he was optimistic a deal could be reach in principle “in the next little bit.”

Reworking the 24-year-old trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico was a top priority for Mr. Trump. He has pushed to have a new deal ready to unveil next week at the Summit of the America in Lima, Peru.

In Washington, the eighth and final round of NAFTA talks were underway, with the broader group of negotiators replaced with top officials.

Mr. Lighthizer is hosting Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Ildefonso Guajardo for the talks.

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