Canada reaches 11th-hour tentative NAFTA deal with U.S., Mexico

Canada and the United States have reached an 11th-hour deal with Mexico to modernize the North American free trade agreement.

With less than an hour before Mexico and the US were poised to forge ahead without Canada, American Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland issued a joint statement to confirm their 14 months of negotiations had been fruitful.

The new trilateral pact has been christened the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement -- or USMCA.

The deal includes wider access to the Canadian market for US dairy producers, but appears to keep Canada's supply management system for dairy and poultry products largely intact.

It also preserves the key dispute-resolution provisions -- Chapter 19 -- which allows for independent panels to resolve disputes involving companies and governments, as well as Chapter 20, the government-to-government dispute settlement mechanism.

Canada fought hard to retain Chapter 19, despite concerted efforts by US negotiators to scrap it.

And while the deal doesn't wrestle with the issue of section 232 tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump on Canadian exports of steel and aluminum, senior US administration officials say the two sides have ``reached an accommodation'' on the tariff issue.

As he left a cabinet briefing late Sunday night Prime Minister Trudeau's only comment to waiting reporters was ``It's a good day for Canada.''

PMO officials said there would be another cabinet meeting Monday morning and a news conference likely as well.