Canada is committed to keeping the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as a trilateral accord, Canada’s trade minister said on Thursday (March 16), in a sign of support for Mexico as it prepares for tough negotiations with the new U.S. administration.
U.S. President Donald Trump is preparing to submit to Congress his plan to renegotiate NAFTA, and could call for bilateral talks that analysts say would put smaller neighbours Mexico and Canada at a bigger disadvantage. Trump has said he only wants to “tweak” U.S.-Canadian trade, while he would seek to change an “unfair” deal with Mexico.
But at a news conference following a Canada business council event in the Mexican capital, Ottawa said any future deal should be a three-party affair.
The United States and Canada face a different set of issues, such as lumber trade, compared with Mexico and the United States, where Trump is concerned about the U.S. deficit with Mexico and the loss of factory jobs south of the border.
Champagne said that Canada was ready to sit down at the table and update NAFTA by including such issues as e-commerce but told media in Mexico the United States has not formally informed Mexico City or Ottawa of its intentions to renegotiate.