Team from Mexico's incoming government heading to Ottawa Monday

Members of the incoming Mexican government's cabinet are heading to Ottawa early next week, as Canada tries to move the bilateral relationship "beyond the NAFTA talks," says Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Chrystia Freeland says Canada is the only country the Mexican team is meeting ahead of Dec. 1 inauguration

Seven secretaries-designate from Mexico are coming to Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Guelph, Ont. for meetings with federal, provincial governments and various private sector representatives. (Judi Bottoni/Associated Press)

Members of the incoming Mexican government's cabinet are heading to Ottawa early next week, as Canada tries to move the bilateral relationship "beyond the NAFTA talks," says Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Ministers with the National Regeneration Movement, or Morena, will be visiting Ottawa on Monday. The party, led by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, will officially take office on Dec. 1.

Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico's foreign secretary-designate, will be part of the delegation along with the secretaries for interior affairs, environment, energy, economy, finance and agriculture.

"As far as we know, Canada is the only country that this Mexican team is coming to meet with and we're very much looking forward to welcoming them," Freeland told Chris Hall, host of CBC Radio's The House, in an interviewing airing Saturday.

After meeting cabinet ministers in Ottawa, the seven secretaries-designate will tour Montreal, Toronto and Guelph, Ont. for meetings with provincial governments and various private-sector representatives.

After 14 months of intensive negotiations, Canada reached a tentative new trilateral trade deal with the U.S. and Mexico last month. With those NAFTA renegotiation talks moving into the rear-view mirror, Freeland said Canada wants to continue to have a strong bilateral relationship with Mexico.

Guajardo to dine with Freeland

"We're going to talk about everything," she said of Monday's meeting. "And this is, frankly, about moving beyond the NAFTA talks."

"That is an important partnership for us and we're keen to get the relationship with this new administration off on the right foot."

Freeland and two cabinet colleagues — Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr and Finance Minister Bill Morneau — travelled to Mexico City in July to put in face time with Morena ministers.

"This new [Mexican] government has very close ties across a broad range of civil society in Canada actually, it's a progressive government," she said.

A member of the outgoing Mexican administration also has plans for a trip to Canada.

After hosting a dinner with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in her home earlier this month, Freeland said she has extended the same invitation to Mexico's secretary of the economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, for later this month.


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