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Justin Trudeau: Canada Willing to Renegotiate NAFTA with Trump

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a Canada-Hong Kong business lunch held by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong during his visit on September 6, 2016
AFP / Anthony Wallace

Ottawa (AFP) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday he is willing to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which US President-elect Donald Trump has said he wants to change or scrap.

During the campaign, Trump called NAFTA the worst trade deal the United States has ever signed, while proposing protectionist measures to repatriate American jobs lost to free trade.

“I think it’s important that we be open to talking about trade deals,” Trudeau — a fierce defender of free trade, which helps bolster the Canadian economy — told reporters.

“If the Americans want to talk about NAFTA, I’m more than happy to talk about it,” he said, adding that it was important to periodically reassess trade deals to ensure that they continue to be of benefit to Canadians.

Trudeau called the president-elect on Wednesday to congratulate him on his election victory.

The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) binds 530 million consumers in Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Bilateral trade crossing the US-Canadian border amounts to US$1.8 billion daily.

Thirty-four US states rely on trade with Canada, which supports nine million American jobs, while exports to the United States represents 20 percent of Canada’s GDP.

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