May 28, 2019 / 5:50 PM / 6 months ago

Canada to present bill on ratification of new North American trade pact: source

FILE PHOTO: The flags of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. on a lectern before a joint news conference on the closing of the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City, Mexico March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian government on Wednesday will formally present draft legislation to parliament to ratify a new North American trade pact, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Ottawa said last week that it would press ahead with moves to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement after the U.S. administration lifted tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum exports.

Canada took the first step toward ratifying the new deal on Monday just three days ahead of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Ottawa to discuss passage of the treaty.

Once the government has formally unveiled the legislation, members of parliament can start debating it. Time is running short because legislators are due to start their summer recess on June 21 and are not scheduled to return to Ottawa until November.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters that Canada was taking a step-by-step approach to ratifying the deal and would operate in tandem with the United States and Mexico as much as possible.

“That is something that will take some careful watching and some attention to detail, because the ratification processes in all three countries are so different,” Freeland said.

David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, told reporters he thought the U.S. Congress could ratify the deal before its summer recess in July. MacNaughton was in Ottawa to meet senior officials.

Reporting by Kelsey Johnson; editing by Phil Berlowitz and Dan Grebler

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