Mulroney offers spirited defence of NAFTA
OTTAWA — Brian Mulroney is delivering a spirited defence of the North American Free Trade Agreement as he testifies before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in Washington. The former Conservative prime minister says the trade deal has benefited both the United States and Canada — not only from an economic perspective, but also in terms of establishing the most peaceful and prosperous bilateral relationship in history. The comments follow the latest round of negotiations for a new agreement, held in Montreal last week against a backdrop of constant threats from U.S. President Donald Trump that he will pull the U.S. out of the current deal. While Trump has blasted NAFTA as a terrible agreement for the U.S., Mulroney — who has resisted mentioning the U.S. president by name — says the deal has created jobs, wealth and prosperity for all three partners: Canada, Mexico and the United States.
Mulroney says protectionism can become a handy tool when fear and anger fuel public debate.
But he says history has shown in North America, Europe and Asia that the best antidote is more free trade, not less, in order to stimulate economic growth and stronger employment.