Canada’s Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, has confirmed that the country will not dump Mexico in exchange for a cozy relationship with the United States if NAFTA is renegotiated.
“NAFTA is a three-country agreement and we need a three-country negotiation,” Freeland said in Toronto last week, according to The Toronto Star.
The assurance comes amid speculation that Canada might abandon Mexico and focus instead on ironing out its differences with the U.S. on the the 23-year-old trade deal that President Donald Trump wants to reframe.
During the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent visit to Washington, Trump said he was not seeking much change to the trade terms with Canada, but he found the terms with Mexico “unfair”.
The re-negotiation has not yet begun formally because the U.S. administration is yet to set up a team to represent it in the talks. Under the agreement, the United States can pull out of the deal, providing it gives six months’ notice of its intention to do so.
Mexico is one of the biggest trade partners for Canada, with the latter recently removing the need for Mexicans to acquire a visa when visiting the country.
As President Trump kept on criticizing NAFTA, Mexico and Canada are repeatedly highlighting the benefits of the deal, pointing at the number of jobs it created inside the United States. As many as 2.8 million U.S. jobs are directly supported by exports to Canada and Mexico, according to Canadian papers.
Mexico, in the meantime, has gone a step further, with one of its senators introducing a bill seeking to cut down Mexico’s purchases of U.S. corn. Mexico is the biggest market for American corn. Reports say U.S. farmers sent $2.4 billion of corn to Mexico in 2015.
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