On­tario cab­i­net urged to trum­pet U.S. trade

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - ALLISON JONES

TORONTO — On­tario cab­i­net min­is­ters have been armed with a sheet of talk­ing points to pro­mote On­tario trade with the United States in Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s pro­tec­tion­ist era.

The sheet of On­tario-U.S. eco­nomic tid­bits was done up by the Min­istry of In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Af­fairs, of which Pre­mier Kath­leen Wynne is the min­is­ter, and handed out to cab­i­net the day be­fore Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion.

Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Brad Duguid said talk of Buy Amer­ica poli­cies and the rene­go­ti­a­tion of the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment is “un­set­tling.”

“We don’t want to be naive to the f act that there are some risks in­volved in that,” he said Fri­day. “At the same time, we in On­tario are for­tu­nate to be able to say that we should be con­fi­dent go­ing for­ward be­cause we come from a po­si­tion of strength.”

The auto parts sup­ply chain is so in­te­grated that the aver­age ve­hi­cle crosses the On­tario-U.S. bor­der seven times be­fore it is com­pleted, Duguid said. On­tario is the top ex­port des­ti­na­tion of 20 states and more than US$800 mil­lion in goods are traded be­tween the two ju­ris­dic­tions each day.

“When we’re in dis­cus­sions with the new ad­min­is­tra­tion to the south, and when we’re in dis­cus­sions as well with our col­league gov­ern­ments in the Great Lake states and other places, it’s re­ally im­por­tant that the new ad­min­is­tra­tion is aware of just how rel­e­vant an un­fet­tered bor­der is to Amer­i­can jobs.”

One-third of the eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity in the U.S. and Canada is gen­er­ated in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence re­gion and if it were a coun­try, it would rank as the third-largest econ­omy in the world, with an eco­nomic out­put of US$5.8 tril­lion, ac­cord­ing to the fact sheet.

“The point we’re mak­ing to our col­leagues to the south in a very friendly way, an in­for­ma­tive way, is this trade re­la­tion­ship is good for us and it’s good for our Amer­i­can friends as well,” Duguid said.

Trump has said he wants to dis­cuss his plan to overhaul NAFTA with Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau when the two meet at the White House on Mon­day.

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