In The Media

Fate of NAFTA in Hands of U.S. Supporters

by Bruce Cochrane (feat. Colin Robertson)

FarmScape
October 26, 2017

The Vice-President of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute suggests the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement is very much in the hands of U.S. interests who have benefitted from the agreement.

After reaching an impasse NAFTA, negotiators have agreed to delay the start of round-5 and extend the negotiating schedule into the new year.

Colin Robertson, the Vice-President and a Fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, says the sense is that the Trump Administration is not terribly interested in reaching an agreement.

Colin Robertson-Canadian Global Affairs Institute:

I think this negotiation now is at a really critical juncture and so much will depend on the ability of American voices to speak out to their legislators, state and federal congressmen and legislators, the governors and make it clear that they think that the NAFTA has worked for them.

Essentially since really about 1995 all we've heard is the bad news stories about NAFTA, people losing their jobs and the rest, but there is a good news story to NAFTA.

It is more appreciated in Canada than it is in the United States but, if the NAFTA did not exist there would be significant job loss in the United States.

Tariffs would go in place and Canadians would start buying products from Europe where we have a free trade agreement.

Canada would like to improve it's trading relationships with Japan as we're already doing.

We're trying to resurrect the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the group of 11 rather than 12, allowing a docking privilege for the United States.

We hope with a change of administration or a change of heart that the United States would come back in because the United States has been the driver of the international order that has provided free trade and peace and security since 1945.

Robertson suggests, while it is still possible to reach a negotiated agreement, the U.S. negotiators will need to show greater flexibility and a willingness to negotiate.


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On today's Global Exchange Podcast, we turn our eyes to the Indo-Pacific, as we assess Canada's naval presence in the region, and the recent deployment of MV Asterix to take part in various multilateral exercises with Canada's Pacific allies. Join our host, Dave Perry, in conversation with CGAI Fellow Matthew Fisher, as they discuss Canada's naval presence around the Indo-Pacific, Chinese military build-up throughout the East and South China Seas, the successes of MV Asterix's recent deployment in the Pacific, and a future for the Canadian Navy in an increasingly militarized Pacific environment.


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