Harper of­fers gloomy take on state of NAFTA

The Daily Courier - - CANADA -

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.

Pow­er­ful anti-trade forces that pre­date Trump’s pres­i­dency are at play in Amer­i­can so­ci­ety and aren’t go­ing away any time soon, said the for­mer Con­ser­va­tive leader, who’s known as an ar­dent free trader.

He re­called be­ing told by the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion when he took of­fice in 2006 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. He be­lieves trade will re­main con­tro­ver­sial, whether or not Trump can­cels NAFTA, which he thinks could hap­pen.

He said he is ad­vis­ing companies to start plan­ning for the pos­si­bil­ity of a world with­out NAFTA.

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