Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau countered the Trump Administration's position on the North American Free Trade Agreement during a speech at the National Governors Association.
Trudeau's comments were focused on President Donald Trump’s campaign —and now presidential promise— to renegotiate NAFTA, a trade deal struck in the 1990’s between Mexico, Canada, and the United States.
"Free trade has worked. It’s working now," Trudeau told the group of about 30 governors gathered in Providence, Rhode Island.
The U.S. has about 9 million jobs that depend on Canadian companies, he pointed out.
Trudeau says he is open to changing NAFTA, but won’t weaken his country’s position.
"We think it should be modernized as it has been a dozen times over the past quarter century," he said. "I have every expectation that it will be to the ultimate benefit of working people in all three partner countries.”
He also provided veiled warnings about the consequences of the U.S. attempting to strong-arm any renegotiation. NAFTA, Trudeau said, has only benefitted the entire continent.
"This is the most successful economic partnership in the history of the world. It’s worth about a trillion dollars each year and most importantly, it’s well-balanced," Trudeau said.
He said the countries have to remain partners, not adversaries, when it comes to trade and remain competitive with the rest of the world.
"Sometimes the dependence and ease of a relationship can lead to us paying too little attention and when that happens the principals invariably live to regret it," Trudeau said.