Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rejected a proposal by Washington to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and adopt a bilateral trade pact.
“We have, on various occasions, heard the president speak about his interest or his musings about a bilateral deal instead of the trilateral NAFTA that we have,” said Trudeau on Wednesday.
“Canada’s position is, and always has been, that the trilateral approach is actually better for Canada, for Mexico and for the United States,” he added.
On Tuesday, the White House announced that US President Donald Trump wishes to engage in separate agreements with Canada and Mexico instead of remaining in the trilateral deal.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow says President Trump’s mulling over a shift in NAFTA negotiations.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that the president is thinking about ways to dismantle the current trilateral structure of the deal and devise a bilateral basis to negotiate new terms with Canada and Mexico one on one, separately.
Trump has repeatedly said since his campaigning days for the presidency that he would pull the US out of NAFTA which was signed by the US, Canada, and Mexico back in 1994.
He claims that pulling out of the deal would serve well to US national interests.
In the past, Trump has described NAFTA as the “single worst trade deal ever approved” by the US, and claimed that it has led to the outsourcing of thousands of jobs from the US to Mexico and China.
Canada and Mexico are strongly opposed to Trump’s threat of canceling the old deal and renegotiating new terms for NAFTA.
‘World economic order under attack’
Meanwhile, Canada’s Trade Minister Francois Philippe Champagne said the world economic order was “under attack,” after Trump implemented tariffs on steel and aluminum from major US trading partners, including Ottawa and the European Union.
“What we are seeing is that the world economic order is under pressure, under attack,” said Champagne.
On Sunday, Trudeau said the US imposition of tariffs on metal imports is an insult to their long standing security partnership.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the US imposition of tariffs on metal imports is an insult to their long standing security partnership.
On Friday, Trump told Canada and the European Union to do more to bring down their trade surpluses, a day after hitting the two US allies and Mexico with import tariffs on their steel and aluminum.
Trump castigated Canada in a tweet on Friday morning, saying it had treated US farmers “very poorly for a very long period of time.”
“Highly restrictive on Trade! They must open their markets and take down their trade barriers! They report a really high surplus on trade with us,” he wrote.
By Africafrique and agencies