Canada's foreign minister has rejoined NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) talks as a U.S. deadline looms this Friday to reach a deal to renew the pact as a three-country agreement. Chrystia Freeland arrived just before 5 p.m. at the Washington office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and emerged an hour later. There was little substance to talks Tuesday between Freeland and Lighthizer, who will meet again Wednesday morning, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. made it clear that the deadline for an agreement in principle is Friday, with no wiggle room, the official said. Despite U.S.-Mexico progress, key issues remain for Canada, although markets are betting a deal will be reached that includes Canada.

Lighthizer didn't speak to reporters. Freeland struck a positive tone before and after, saying aspects of an accord struck without Canada at the table will help advance other issues. She said it will be an “important and constructive week” and that Canada was encouraged by progress made without them.

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