Following weeks of speculation about how President Trump views Canada and the impact his administration could have on the Canadian economy, including agriculture, every word (and handshake) was closely scrutinized during Prime Minister Trudeau’s first visit to the Trump White House on Monday.
“We are going to have a great relationship with Canada, maybe as good or better, hopefully, than ever before,” said Trump, as both leaders spoke to the media after their meeting.
Asked about his denouncement of the North American Free Trade Agreement and what changes he would like to see with Canada, Trump reiterated his earlier comments praising Canada-U.S. trade ties.
“We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada. We’ll be tweaking it. We’ll be doing certain things that are going to benefit both of our countries. It’s a much less severe situation than what’s taken place on the southern border,” said the President. “On the southern border, for many, many years, the transaction was not fair to the United States. It was an extremely unfair transaction.”
The joint statement issued by both the Prime Minister and President also highlighted the importance of open trade, specifically mentioning that Canada is the largest export market for 35 U.S. States:
We recognize our profound shared economic interests, and will work tirelessly to provide growth and jobs for both countries. Canada is the most important foreign market for thirty-five U.S. States, and more than $2 billion in two-way trade flows across our shared border every day. Millions of American and Canadian middle-class jobs, including in the manufacturing sector, depend on our partnership. We affirm the importance of building on this existing strong foundation for trade and investment and further deepening our relationship, with the common goal of strengthening the middle class.
The United States and Canada also recognize the importance of cooperation to promote economic growth, provide benefits to our consumers and businesses, and advance free and fair trade. We will continue our dialogue on regulatory issues and pursue shared regulatory outcomes that are business-friendly, reduce costs, and increase economic efficiency without compromising health, safety, and environmental standards. We will work together regarding labour mobility in various economic sectors.
Here’s the Trudeau-Trump news conference, via CPAC’s Facebook Live feed (the news conference begins around the 12 minute mark):