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New Canadian Finance Minister Freeland earned spurs in trade talks
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OTTAWA – Chrystia Freeland, a former journalist who was Canada's lead negotiator for a new North American trade deal, was named the country's first female finance minister on Tuesday after the abrupt resignation of her predecessor, as the government shifted focus to the long-term economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
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Freeland, 52, who is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's deputy and widely seen as his likely successor for leadership of the Liberal Party, was appointed after Bill Morneau stepped down as finance minister on Monday amid friction with the prime minister over spending policies.
Prior to being appointed deputy prime minister and minister of intergovernmental affairs in 2019, Freeland was Canada's foreign minister and minister for international trade. In that role, she renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement, now known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
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While popular with business and trade groups, Freeland does not have the traditional corporate background of many of her predecessors in the finance portfolio, which could be viewed as a risk for markets as Canada grapples with a coronavirus-induced recession.