Harper offers gloomy take on state of NAFTA
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.