Canada 'happy' to discuss Nafta trade deal with United States

Riga: Canada said on Thursday it is open to meeting with the US to discuss revisions to their Nafta trade pact with Mexico, which US President Donald Trump has called a bad deal and vowed to renegotiate or scrap.

File image of Justin Trudeau. Reuters

File image of Justin Trudeau. Reuters

"Prime Minister Trudeau has said from the start we would be happy to sit down at the table" with the US, Canada's Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told reporters in Latvian capital Riga.

He said the 23-year-old tripartite North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been amended before, adding: "E-commerce did not even exist when it was last amended and there are a number of things we can look at."

"But to be clear: there has been no formal notification with respect to starting a process to renegotiate NAFTA," he concluded.

Throughout his campaign and since his November election, Trump has voiced his determination to put "America first" and rip up Nafta, arguing that it was a bad deal that has led to the loss of manufacturing jobs to Mexico.

Renegotiating Nafta will not be simple and Trudeau, a fervent supporter of free trade, has emphasised the importance of the tripartite pact for his country's economy and warned against protectionism.

The economic ties between America and Canada, which share the world's longest common border, run deep: three-quarters of Canada's exports go to the US, and Canada is the top destination for exports from about 30 US states.

Champagne spoke in Latvia after the Baltic state became the first European Union member to ratify the new Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) betweenvCanada and the EU.

He said he hopes "Ceta will become a reference point in the world... This is the most progressive trade agreement ever negotiated by the EU or Canada."

"In an age of rising protectionism and anti-trade rhetoric in the world it sets a new gold standard for progressive trade that works for everyone," he told reporters alongside Latvia's Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics.


Published Date: Feb 23, 2017 09:50 pm | Updated Date: Feb 23, 2017 09:50 pm


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