Nault on NAFTA

Kenora MP’s trip fo­cused on fu­ture of NAFTA and main­tain­ing part­ner­ships

Kenora Daily Miner and News - - FRONT PAGE - SHERI LAMB

Kenora MP Bob Nault talks NAFTA in U.S.A.

Rene­go­ti­a­tion of the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment (NAFTA) won’t be a quick, hap­haz­ard process done on so­cial me­dia de­spite what cer­tain world lead­ers may ap­pear to want, ac­cord­ing to Kenora Lib­eral MP Bob Nault.

The mem­ber of par­lia­ment rep­re­sent­ing Kenora also serves as head of the for­eign af­fairs com­mit­tee and just re­turned from a whirl­wind week of talks about NAFTA, Canada’s fu­ture on the pres­ti­gious United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil and the mood of what Amer­i­cans, out­side of Don­ald Trump’s tweets, re­ally want. Nault hasn’t hid his dis­dain for Trump’s meth­ods in rene­go­ti­at­ing NAFTA and in his opinion Canada needs to out-wait the U.S. Pres­i­dent to se­cure the best deal pos­si­ble.

“I’ve been push­ing very hard to con­vince the gov­ern­ment that we should not have a strat­egy that tries to fast track NAFTA,” said Nault when he was in Kenora on Fri­day, Nov. 3. “We should go back to ne­go­ti­at­ing un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances and there’s no real rea­son for us to go fast, that’s Trump’s agenda be­cause he’s try­ing to put some pres­sure on ev­ery­body by say­ing he’s go­ing to can­cel it.

Be­fore Trump even set foot in the White House, Canada was al­ready forg­ing bonds with U.S. politi­cians, state and busi­ness lead­ers, to work around the con­tro­ver­sial new pres­i­dent.

“Our team should just push back [against Trump] and say it takes a lot of time to do all of these chap­ters,” said Nault re­fer­ring to the num­ber of NAFTA top­ics that need to be ne­go­ti­ated. “There are 22 ta­bles right now and it’s a lot of work. We have some ta­bles that have con­cluded, things like e-com­merce and small busi­ness chap­ters so we’re mak­ing some progress but, I think we should re­duce the tem­per­a­ture a lit­tle bit and get back to a good dis­cus­sion.”

That’s what Nault’s trip to Mex­ico City, New York City and Wash­ing­ton D.C. was about talk­ing with peo­ple and sort­ing out the fact from fic­tion. Un­like Cana­di­ans and Mex­i­cans, Nault said NAFTA is not high on the agenda at Cap­i­tal Hill right now, as tax re­form and Spe­cial Pros­e­cu­tor Robert Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the 2016 U.S. Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Nault was in Wash­ing­ton D.C. the same week for­mer Trump cam­paign ad­vi­sor Paul Manafort was placed un­der house ar­rest and crim­i­nal charges brought against him.

Nault did say he re­ceived a pos­i­tive vibe about NAFTA talk­ing with con­gres­sional rep­re­sen­ta­tives and se­na­tors on Cap­i­tal Hill.

“I would say ev­ery sin­gle per­son we met be­lieves strongly that NAFTA will be rene­go­ti­ated and will sur­vive and will do what it’s been do­ing,’ said Nault adding it’ll be con­gress and the se­nate who will pass it through.

“What I en­joyed about tak­ing our for­eign af­fairs de­part­ment into places like Wash­ing­ton and Mex­ico City is you hear first­hand what peo­ple’s per­cep­tion is and it’s very dif­fer­ent some­times than what Cana­di­ans think is go­ing on,” added Nault. “I came back with a lit­tle bit more en­thu­si­asm that things are go­ing to work out in the end and not as con­cerned as I might’ve been months ago at the sort of un­ortho­dox style of the pres­i­dent. But at the same time I think we have to keep our ne­go­tia­tors work­ing very hard. Many of us have been down into Wash­ing­ton on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and we’ll keep do­ing that.”

Dur­ing his visit to Mex­ico City, Nault said he re­as­sured the third party of the NAFTA ne­go­ti­a­tion that Canada stands by and sup­ports Mex­ico’s con­tin­ued in­volve­ment, de­spite tweets that in­di­cate cer­tain folks would like to cut Mex­ico out.

“They asked very bluntly whether Canada was go­ing to stick with it or walk away and do a bi­lat­eral agree­ment with the U.S.,” said Nault about his meet­ings in Mex­ico. “We con­firmed what our gov­ern­ment has been say­ing all along at the ne­go­ti­at­ing table - it’s good busi­ness to have Mex­ico as part of the deal.”

NAFTA came into af­fect on Jan. 1, 1994 and has two parts: the North Amer­i­can Agree­ment on En­vi­ron­men­tal Co­op­er­a­tion (NAAEC) and the North Amer­i­can Agree­ment on La­bor Co­op­er­a­tion (NAALC). Shortly af­ter mov­ing into the White House in Jan­uary 2017, Trump an­nounced his in­ten­tion to rene­go­ti­ate the NAFTA pact to fix some of the ar­eas that have caused dis­putes in the past be­tween the three trade part­ners.


Kenora MP Bob Nault stopped in his home­town Fri­day, Nov. 3 af­ter a busy month of vis­it­ing Mex­ico, New York and Wash­ing­ton D.C. as head of the for­eign af­fairs com­mit­tee.

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