Canada's Freeland won't hold NAFTA talks, says more work needed

The next round of talks on a trade agreement with Canada will be missing a major component.

While a meeting was reportedly expected to be held on Thursday, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said officials needed to do more work before she could hold fresh talks with the United States.

She went back to Canada earlier this week to personally update Prime Minister Trudeau.

During a phone call with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Freeland said she would stay in Canada.

Freeland said that officials needed time to hold technical discussions, according to Reuters.

U.S. President Donald Trump has already struck a deal with Mexico, the third member of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and is threatening to exclude Canada unless Ottawa agrees to concessions.

Canada and the United States are still arguing over cultural protections, an American demand for more access to the Canadian dairy market and a dispute resolution mechanism that Canada wants to keep and Washington insists be scrapped.

Canada's chief NAFTA negotiator, as well as the country's ambassador to the United States, will reportedly fly back to Washington on Wednesday night for more talks.

Trudeau, speaking to legislators of his ruling Liberal Party at a meeting in the western city of Saskatoon, reiterated that he would rather have no NAFTA than sign a bad agreement.