Saskatchewan’s trade and export development minister is worried the federal Liberals may have botched critical negotiations with Canada’s largest trading partner.
Speaking Tuesday on Gormley, Jeremy Harrison said the news this week that the U.S. and Mexico had reached a two-way deal to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was worrisome.
“The reality is, there was a bilateral agreement reached between Mexico and the United States and we weren’t at the table. We weren’t there to protect our interests.”
Harrison said he told that to federal Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.
“I would say that we are concerned about how this negotiation has proceeded. I’ve directly conveyed that concern to minister Freeland on a number of occasions.”
Harrison also expressed hope the Liberals would abandon their stance that NAFTA had to be re-negotiated among all three of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico and agree to participate fully in bi-lateral talks with the U.S. moving forward.
He also said he believed Ottawa has more time than the Friday deadline pushed by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has told the Canadian government to either sign on to the existing deal between the U.S. and Mexico or face industry-killing tariffs on Canadian-built automobiles.
“The legalities I think would lead me to believe that’s strictly posturing from the Trump administration,” he said.