Canada PM: doesn’t think Trump will pull U.S. out of NAFTA

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an
interview he does not think U.S. President Donald Trump will pull out of
NAFTA, despite differences over how to update the trade pact, the
Canadian Broadcasting Corp said on Wednesday.

Trudeau’s comments were among the most positive made by any Canadian
official since talks started last year to revamp a $1.2 trillion treaty
that Trump calls a disaster.

“It obviously would be bad if we canceled it, so I don’t think the

president is going to be cancelling it,” Trudeau told the CBC in an
interview recorded on Tuesday. The CBC released excerpts on Wednesday.

Trudeau also told the CBC that Canada has multiple contingency plans in
the event Washington does announce it plans to withdraw. The Trump
administration is demanding big changes to the pact, and this has caused
tensions with Canada and Mexico.

Trump’s trade chief, speaking in Montreal on Monday after the sixth of
eight rounds of talks, rejected proposals for unblocking the
negotiations but promised to seek quick breakthroughs.

Foreign ministers from the United States, Canada and Mexico will meet in
Mexico City on Friday to discuss the talks and other issues, the
Canadian government said on Wednesday.

The talks on renegotiating the 1994 three-party North American Free
Trade Agreement began soon after Trump took office a year ago, saying
that if it could not be overhauled to better favor U.S. interests and
American workers, Washington would pull out of the pact.

In his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, Trump said “America has

also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals,” but did
not mention NAFTA by name.

As recently as Jan. 10, Canadian government sources told Reuters that
Ottawa was increasingly convinced the United States would give notice of
withdrawal. The news hit stock markets and the Canadian and Mexican
currencies.

Asked about contingency plans, Trudeau said “not only do we have a Plan
B, we have a Plan C and D and E and F”. He declined to give details.

“I think one of the dangers is falling into hypotheticals and chasing
rabbits down holes,” he told the CBC.

“Just know that we have looked at a broad range of scenarios and have an
approach that is going to continue to stand up for Canadian jobs while
we diversify our markets.”

Canadian Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne has repeatedly said
his “Plan B” is to find more overseas markets. Canada currently sends
around 75 percent of all goods exports to the United States.

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