Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Don't Tear Up NAFTA Says U.S. Chamber of Commerce President

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Don't Tear Up NAFTA Says U.S. Chamber of Commerce President

Article excerpt

Don't harm NAFTA: U.S. chamber head

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OTTAWA - Tearing up the North American Free Trade Agreement will mean lost jobs in all three member countries, says the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

But Tom Donohue also said there are ways to improve the 23-year-old trade deal between Canada, Mexico and the United States and there's potential to create a stronger agreement that will improve North America's overall competitiveness with the rest of the world.

Donohue, who was critical of U.S. President Donald Trump before he was elected, came to Ottawa on Monday with a largely conciliatory message about the need to move forward constructively on bettering the economies of NAFTA's three countries.

He told an audience of business leaders, politicians and diplomats that the intertwined and integrated economies of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are a good thing that must be preserved.

The message was largely in synch with the approach Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has taken towards the Trump administration: stressing the deep economic ties and the fact that millions of U.S. jobs also depend on NAFTA.

Trudeau said Monday that his government has spent the last month dealing directly with the Trump administration and reinforcing the fact that the two economies are integrated "like no other two countries in the world."

Trudeau also spoke Monday with French President Francois Hollande, two days after speaking with British Prime Minister Theresa May. Hollande and Trudeau discussed the upcoming G7 and NATO summits later this spring, gatherings that Trump is expected to attend. May's conversation with Trudeau came after her recent meeting with Trump in Washington.

None of the readouts of the calls supplied by Trudeau's office made any mention of Trump.

Trudeau's cabinet ministers are also busy in Washington. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan was there Monday for talks with his counterpart James Mattis, the U.S. defence secretary.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said he will travel to Washington on Wednesday to meet new appointees in the Trump administration. …

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