NAFTA vital for Sask. economy: Moe

While he would not comment about specifics surrounding the North American Free Trade Agreement after his first minister phone call with Prime Minister Trudeau this morning, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said his government will continue to promote the province’s interests.

“With respect to NAFTA, and I won’t get into details with respect to where we are, but we’ve always been an advocate with respect to getting a deal with our trading partner of the United States of America,” he said in Saskatoon Aug. 30.

Toting a green cap and in between photo ops on the golf course, Moe spoke with reporters during the annual Saskatoon Sask Party Golf Premier’s Tournament.

With much of the province’s business tied up with the U.S., he said the NAFTA agreement is vital for Saskatchewan’s economy.

“We export about 55 percent of our goods or more in some years to the U.S. and we are an exporting province, so the NAFTA agreement is a very important agreement to the province of Saskatchewan. About 85 percent of our imports come from the United States, so we are a friendly and fair trading partner with the U.S. from our provincial perspective,” he said.

“We continue to offer our services in any way in advocating for a NAFTA deal and we would like to see a North American Free Trade Agreement sooner rather than later and we’ll continue to offer our services to do that. And we’ll also offer our services in the event that we were able to get to an agreement in principle to ensure that we can continue with that synergistic relationship that we’ve experienced with the U.S. over the last two and a half decades.”

Moe said NAFTA has been good for Saskatchewan, but also for the many states that trade with the province.

“We need a positive deal with the United States,” he said.

Moe said discussions have been ongoing with respect to specific chapters and specific industries with the NAFTA deal.

“You know the fact of the matter is our federal government has worked on specific industries with some of the other trade deals that we have signed actually: the CETA deal, the TPP deal. There has been negotiations around supply management that have entered into those negotiations and we just advocate and advocate with our federal government to continue to engage with our largest trading partner and our most important trading partner — the United States of America,” he said.

“I think it’s fair to say that the prime minister is a hearing our concerns and we continue to advocate on behalf of the Saskatchewan interest as well as Canadian interests when it comes to trade agreements.”

While Moe remains hopeful that a deal can be negotiated with the U.S., his government is striving for fair trade agreements elsewhere to grow the economy.

“We’ve been down to the U.S. to engage directly with our U.S. counterparts, whether it be governors, whether it be members of President Trump’s cabinet, or whether it be senators or house representatives. We’re off to China in the not too distant future, as well as planning a trip to India to engage with the nations that we do business with and the nations that we provide sustainable, competitive, affordable products to and will continue to do that. And that includes the United States,” he said.

“I’m always engaged and optimistic with any conversation that we take part in, and I’ll continue to engage with our federal government as well as other nations where we have opportunities.”

Contact william.dekay@producer.com

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