Renegotiating NAFTA Leaves Room for Optimism

CANADA - The Vice President of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute suggests, as the renegotiation of NAFTA gets underway, a key message to the United States must be that Canada is a fair trading partner and a strong ally, Bruce Cochrane writes.
calendar icon 26 May 2017
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Last week, the US Congress was officially notified of plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement kicking off a 90-day period before talks with Canada and Mexico can formally begin.

Colin Robertson, the Vice President and a Fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, notes trade has been key to the success of US agriculture.

Colin Robertson-Canadian Global Affairs Institute

Unlike Canada, which depends heavily for its economic growth on trade, the United States at roughly 325 million people, is relatively self contained but trade is very important to it, especially important to the farm community, which enjoys significant export surpluses.

When President Trump talks about balance of trade not being in America's favor, that's not the case with American agriculture.

It continues to supply a lot of the world and it's a very positive market.

From a Canadian perspective the farm community, while they can be protectionist on issues where we run up against them, pork and beef for example, they tend to be free trade minded because at the same time they also export a fair bit to Canada.

The balance of trade in terms of agricultural products with Canada is very much in America's favor.

I think the key message is that Canada is a fair trading partner with the United States and that we are also, and I think this is important, a reliable ally.

President Trump tends to link economics and security as we've seen with China.

I think the fact that we are a reliable ally and have America's back plays just as well in the trade and economic sphere as in the defense sphere.

Mr Robertson says, considering President Trump moved to renegotiate rather than rescind NAFTA leaves room for optimism.

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