The vexing question of greater USA access to the Canada's protected dairy sector is now pivotal as the NAFTA negotiations in Washington draw closer to President Donald Trump's Friday deadline for a three-country deal.
Freeland, who later met with Mexican officials on Tuesday evening, said she is due to dig into detailed discussions with Lighthizer on Wednesday.
Freeland said she would answer questions from reporters after this meeting.
President Donald Trump is now turning his focus toward cutting a trade deal with Canada after the United States and Mexico reached an agreement on Monday.
Donald Trump has threatened to leave Canada on the sidelines since announcing a breakthrough with Mexico on Monday, but both the United States president and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have also expressed optimism a deal is close. The three countries had been having trilateral negotiations for a year, until May.
One of the key issues involves the dairy industry. US demands have ranged from ending those tariffs to scrapping a pricing system for milk ingredients that hurt USA exports of milk proteins.
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.
A senior administration official called the new U.S. -Mexico trade agreement "better in all respects" than "NAFTA 1.0". "And I assume that they are going to carry out negotiations on the sensitive bilateral issues between Canada and the United States", the Mexican president said. The U.S. -Mexico agreement stipulates a 16-year NAFTA that would be reviewed and possibly extended every six years.
Ricketts said he emphasized the importance of NAFTA during the visit, and has previously encouraged US officials to finalize an agreement. Canada is a part of North America, so unless I am missing something, they should have been included in these talks.
Toomey said any new deal would need to include Canada in order for the legislation to pass with only 51 Senate votes, the so-called "fast track" under trade promotion authority laws.
Trudeau has insisted his government will only sign a deal that's good for Canada.
Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico's economy minister, said that if Canada doesn't sign the deal, the pact between the USA and Mexico will need some tweaks.
But Ottawa could offer USA dairy farmers a small increase in market share as it did with the European Union in a free trade pact previous year, in exchange for U.S. concessions on the NAFTA chapter on dispute resolution.
Indeed, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said during a June visit to Prince Edward Island that "it's not our desire to do away with" Canadian supply management.
But Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland cut a trip to Europe short so that she could rejoin the talks in Washington Wednesday.
The White House has said Trump will sign the deal 90 days after notification.
But first, he said, he would give Canada a chance to get back in - "if they'd like to negotiate fairly". "We're not going to stand for that". Lighthizer said on Monday that Mexico had agreed to eliminate the mechanism. "And farmers were really at the top of my list, because I think they've been treated very unfairly for many years - including by NAFTA - but very unfairly for many years, because they have barriers", Trump said.