World Bulletin / News Desk
Canada expects to keep its 1989 bilateral free trade agreement with the United States if US President-elect Donald Trump withdraws from NAFTA, the Canadian ambassador to the US said Wednesday.
The Canada-US Free Trade Agreement was superseded in 1994 by the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which added Mexico to the pact.
"Presumably... if NAFTA went away, the free trade agreement would come back and into effect," Canadian Ambassador David MacNaughton told journalists in Montreal.
"It's in our interest as a country to have NAFTA continue to be in existence," he continued.
"I hope this new administration will come to the realization that in this case it's been beneficial and that there is no such thing in this agreement that can't be improved."
Since NAFTA went into effect, according to MacNaughton, trade throughout North America has multiplied fourfold and nine million US jobs depend on trade with Canada, the top trade partner of 36 US states.
"Trade has become a dirty word in the United States," he said. "Despite the depth of our relationship with the United States, it's not immune to protectionist impulses."
Since Trump's shock November 8 electoral victory both Canada and Mexico have announced that they are willing to sit down with the new administration to reexamine NAFTA.
In Ottawa, conservative leader Rona Ambrose blatantly criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision to agree to renegotiating NAFTA.
"When it came time to defend NAFTA, the most important trade agreement in Canada's history, before being asked Prime Minister Trudeau offered to open up and renegotiate NAFTA," she said.
"Wow. Wow. That is some tough negotiating."
Should NAFTA renegotiation happen, MacNaughton said Canadian interests would come first.
"What is of prime interest to us is the protection of jobs in Canada, and I suspect that it is the same for Mexicans and Americans," he said.
"There are areas where hard discussion lies ahead."
afpLast Mod: 17 Kasım 2016, 08:46