Support for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is growing in Canada as the new U.S. president threatens to tear up the treaty.
More than 43% of Canadians believe that NAFTA benefited their country, according to a new survey by Angus Reid Institute. The figure is nearly double the 25% who responded to a similar survey last June.
A significant number of respondents said they are certain that NAFTA will be re-written and that Canada will be worse off as a result.
“What a difference eight months and a new U.S. president make,” stated the institute in its report, questioning why the Canadian public has suddenly become so enthusiastic about NAFTA.
“This sudden surge in affection for the Canada-US-Mexico trade pact first implemented in 1994 doesn’t necessarily equate to a belief that it will remain intact, however,” the institute continued.
NAFTA is the most critical trading deal for Canada, because the United States accounts for 80% of its cross-border trade, amounting to more than US$600 billion annually. Moreover, many of its businesses are interconnected with American enterprises.
President Trump is seeking to amend the terms that give Mexico and Canada free access to the U.S. market; he wants U.S. firms to produce goods for American consumers within their own country.
Under the agreement, the United States can pull out of the deal, providing it gives six months’ notice of its intention to do so.
In the survey, many Canadians said they would like their country to forge a closer relationship with Mexico, though not at the expense of the Canada-U.S. relationship.
Canadians are also supporting the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union as well as Trans-Pacific- Partnership (TPP) that the Trump administration already rejected.