WASHINGTON — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s marquee speech to the United Nations General Assembly has been postponed until Monday.
Officials in Freeland’s office say the minister, who is currently in the throes of an intensive, last-stage effort to secure a North American free trade deal, has traded her time slot on the UN rostrum.
They haven’t said why, but it’s likely to let Freeland focus on efforts to get Canada into a trilateral NAFTA deal with the U.S. and Mexico, which sources say have intensified this week in the face of Monday’s congressional deadline.
The text of the existing U.S.-Mexico deal is expected to be published by Sunday, and there have been fears that Congress would be willing to press ahead with the bilateral agreement if Canada can’t get a deal done.
Mexico’s new president-elect, however, said in an interview Friday that he has agreed to push the American side to make a deal with Canada.
Sources familiar with the talks say Freeland took part in a lengthy conference call Friday night with negotiators and their U.S. counterparts in Washington, who have been taking part in intensive talks all week.