Trudeau Not Taking NAFTA Discussions Seriously

September 5, 2018

Once again, the Trudeau Liberals have failed Canadians. Canada was left out of NAFTA talks that ultimately led to a successful renegotiation deal between the United States and Mexico. Despite our relentless urging of the Trudeau government to treat NAFTA with utmost importance, the Liberal government has not done so. As a result, tens of thousands of Canadian jobs are now at risk.

While promoting the renegotiation agreement between the United States and Mexico, president Trump once again threatened to impose auto tariffs on Canada if a negotiated settlement is not reached. In fact, he even hinted at entirely leaving Canada out of the agreement, claiming that instead of NAFTA, the agreement would now be called United States- Mexico Trade Agreement.

What the Liberals fail to understand is how important a successful renegotiation is for Canadians.  Hundreds of thousands of high paying jobs depend on NAFTA. Over $2 billion in trade crosses the Canada-U.S. border every day. Failure to successfully reach a deal would have detrimental impacts for Canadian business and the average Canadian consumer.

Of the $29 billion goods Saskatchewan exported last year, $16 billion was exported to the United States. According to the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP), the most significant Saskatchewan export to the United States is oil and oil products ($7.3 billion). This is followed by other commodities and resources, which includes potash, canola (seed, meal, and oil), uranium, and grains.  Significant manufactured goods exported from Saskatchewan into the U.S. include steel (line pipe), wood products, farm machinery (seeders and planters), and motor vehicles.

New duties on these products would make them less competitive in the US marketplace. This would have a negative impact on Saskatchewan’s employment rate, as well as on its natural resources royalty regime.

To make matters worse, the United States Department of Commerce recently announced it will launch another investigation into imports of uranium, similar to the investigation launched earlier this year on steel and aluminum. This investigation could again lead to negative consequences for Canada and for Saskatchewan as our country is the second-largest producer of uranium in the world. 

Despite their much-vaunted “charm offensive”, the Liberals did not take the NAFTA discussions seriously. From their so-called “progressive agenda” – which was intended to drive a wedge with the US administration, to their miscalculation with respect to Mexico insisting on tri-lateral negotiations, the Trudeau Liberals have failed to advance the interests of Canadian workers and industries that depend on trade. 

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