Mul­roney of­fers spir­ited de­fence of NAFTA

Journal Pioneer - - CANADA -

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.

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