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Canada on track for signing of trade deal

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—Canada says it is on track to sign a new North American free-trade agreement on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina but Foreign Affairs minister Chrystia Freeland would not provide a firm confirmation today.

Freeland, speaking on a sunny patio at a hotel in Buenos Aires shortly after the Canadian delegation landed today, said details must be finalized on a “massive” three-way deal.

“Our objective has always been to sign this agreement on Nov. 30 and we are on track to hit that objective,” Freeland noted.

Canada has been in touch with the Americans and the Mexicans since arriving in Buenos Aires, she added.

“A vast number of technical details need to be scrubbed and wrapped up,” Freeland explained.

“The fact that this is an agreement in three languages adds to the level of technical complexity, and it is on that level that we are just being sure that all the 'I's are dotted and all the 'T's are crossed.”

The minister is part of a Canadian delegation attending a high-stakes G20 summit set to begin tomorrow and draw global attention over trade tensions between China and the United States.

The Liberal government also is eyeing the issue of international security after Canada and its allies condemned the seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels near Crimea on Monday.

Freeland said she has spoken to the Ukrainian foreign minister and is in very close contact with other G7 countries on this issue.

She also said Ukraine is expected to be the topic of a “robust conversation” at a NATO foreign-ministers' summit in Brussels next week.

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