It doesn’t look good for NAFTA: Harper

Calgary Sun - - NEWS - — the Cana­dian press

The lat­est round of talks kicked off with a dis­cus­sion of gov­ern­ment pro­cure­ment, al­ready a thorny sub­ject — U.S. ne­go­tia­tors sug­gested dur­ing the last round in Ottawa that they want to limit Cana­dian and Mex­i­can ac­cess to U.S. projects. From there, dis­cus­sions move onto de­vel­op­ing reme­dies for trade dis­putes, as well as the con­tentious is­sue of agri­cul­ture.

WashINGTON — don­ald Trump could well de­cide to can­cel NaFTa, stephen harper warned Wednesday as the for­mer prime min­is­ter ended his pub­lic si­lence on cur­rent events by de­scrib­ing anti-trade sen­ti­ment in the u.s. as an in­tractable, long-term prob­lem with no easy fix.

harper stepped into the role of po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst dur­ing a panel dis­cus­sion in Washington, a co­in­ci­dence of tim­ing that bor­dered on the sur­real: at the very same mo­ment, harper’s suc­ces­sor Justin Trudeau was a few blocks away at the White house, dis­cus-sing the North amer­i­can Free Trade agree­ment with the u.s. pres­i­dent him­self.

Pow­er­ful anti-trade forces that pre­date Trump’s pres­i­dency are at play in amer­i­can so­ci­ety, said the for­mer con­ser­va­tive leader.

he re­called be­ing told by the bush ad­min­is­tra­tion when he took of­fice in ’06 that NaFTa would never have won a vote in the u.s. con­gress at the time. he de­scribed how barack Obama cam­paigned against the deal.

harper said he doesn’t be­lieve a sim­ple fix to NaFTa, with a few tweaks, will sat­isfy Trump, who has re­peat­edly blasted the trade deal as bad for the u.s., and has a po­lit­i­cal need to show he’s achieved im­por­tant changes.

he said that if NaFTa col­lapses, the chi­nese will be ready and will­ing to make a deal with canada.

SEaN KiL­patRiCK/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump points to Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau as he wel­comes him to the White House yes­ter­day.

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