CHICAGO – Canada will seek a good and fair deal at the negotiating table on NAFTA in order to create a “win-win-win” situation with the United States and Mexico, said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was visiting here Wednesday.
Trudeau told students and faculty members at the University of Chicago that his country agrees to modernize and improve the almost 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but “will not be pushed into accepting any old deal.”
“And no deal might very well be better for Canada than a bad deal,” he said.
The Canadian prime minister made the remarks as U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to withdraw from the pact if it is not improved to advance U.S. interests.
Washington claimed it seeks to support higher-paying jobs in the United States and to grow its economy by improving U.S. opportunities to trade with Canada and Mexico.
Trudeau added he has been engaging “constructively, collaboratively, but firmly” at the negotiating table with the United States and Mexico, because a good deal will benefit all three nations.
Trudeau maintained that over the more than two decades that NAFTA has been in place, the American economy has also added 33 million net new jobs, which is almost the entire population of Canada, some 36 million.
“So it’s a really big number for us … the facts are that our economies have thrived over the past 25 years under NAFTA,” he said.
“At the same time, absolutely we need to modernize. We need to improve NAFTA,” the prime minister told the audience.
But he reiterated that anything providing “a level of uncertainty,” like a sunset clause, is something that Canada has grave reservations about.
The so-called sunset clause proposed by Washington will cause NAFTA to expire every five years, unless all three countries agree it should continue or be updated.
Chicago was Trudeau’s first stop on his American tour, which will also take him to Los Angeles and San Francisco.