Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke personally with President Trump only days after there was talk of putting together an executive order to completely withdraw from NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). Combined with his talk with Trudeau and a similar talk with the Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, President Donald Trump has agreed that renegotiation of the agreement is a better idea.
Prime Minister Trudeau convinced President Trump that it would to everyone’s benefit to keep NAFTA, but negotiation of some of the terms can keep everyone happy.
This morning, on April 27, 2017, President Trump conceded that it would be “a pretty big, you know, shock to the system” if they were to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement. CBC said that as he sat in the Oval Office, he wanted to make sure it was a “fair deal” meaning that American workers would benefit from the renegotiations; otherwise, he would continue forward with a plan to terminate NAFTA.
I received calls from the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Canada asking to renegotiate NAFTA rather than terminate. I agreed..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2017
...subject to the fact that if we do not reach a fair deal for all, we will then terminate NAFTA. Relationships are good-deal very possible!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2017
When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was at a farm event in the Saskatchewan prairie town of Gray, he said that he brought up the fact that there had been a lot of industries that had been developed in the context of NAFTA and that a lot of jobs went with those industries. Prime Minister Trudeau made sure that President Trump understood that a lot of families would suffer from the short and medium term consequences of a NAFTA termination and if the agreement could be renegotiated it would be to both Canada and the U.S’s benefit.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto may have more work to do if they are to prevent President Trump from doing everything he can to end NAFTA for the U.S. CBC reports that White House aides (who did not want to be identified) had already drafted an executive order to end NAFTA and it was ready to sign. President Trump had not decided what to do at that point, so it was good timing that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau contacted him when he did.
Of course, it is possible that President Trump is using the talk of terminating NAFTA as leverage when it comes to getting a better deal for the U.S. when they do renegotiate. Hopefully, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other leaders will see through that, if that is indeed his plan.
Trudeau has communicated with President Trump several times this year already, sometimes in person and other times, speaking over the phone. This week, Trump and Trudeau have spoken twice over the phone, speaking on the topic of NAFTA. A statement from the White House said that the conversations with Prime Minister Trudeau and President Trump were “pleasant and productive.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made it clear that he will deal with President Trump in a “firm but responsible and polite way” and that he will continue to pursue the best interests of Canadians without being confrontational.
It is important to note that even if an executive order was drafted and signed, Trump cannot simply pull out of NAFTA without some time passing. Six months notice is required by law to terminate NAFTA. Even with the renegotiation talks that are planned, it will take time before anything is settled because the White House must give Congress 90 days notice before completing the trade deal talks.
Trump has made trade a major part of his campaign rallies over the past year. He contends that trade deficits and the loss of many of the jobs in the U.S. are because of NAFTA.
What do you think of the way that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau managed himself in his most recent dealings with President Trump? Is he doing a good job? Sound off in the comments below!
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]