As a NAFTA Renegotiation Gets Tossed Around, Canada Watches Cautiously

An advisor to President Trump travels north.

Since it is not likely that you have been spending your life underneath a rock, you are probably aware of the central role that Mexico played in the most recent United States election. This was partly due to a backlash against immigrants, often undocumented, traveling to the U.S. through Mexico, which prompted the infamous promise of the now President of the United States: “We’re going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for it.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trump’s preoccupations and American concerns with its southern border, though, did not stop with immigration. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been sharply criticized as a negative to the American worker and a boon to no one except multi-national corporations. Trump has promised to renegotiate the agreement, but has provided little specifics beyond that.

The preoccupation with U.S.-Mexico relations has left the state of U.S.-Canada relations off the front page. But trade and diplomatic relationships between those two countries could be just as affected by the stances of the Trump administration.

It seems that Stephen Schwarzman, the billionaire founder of Blackstone Group and an advisor to the President, has been tasked with calming any fears from America’s northern neighbor. Schwarzman is in Calgary, where Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is holding a cabinet meeting, to assure the government that there is no hostility to the current state of trade relations between the two countries. He went so far as to call the relationship a “model.”

The new President is expected to meet shortly with both his Canadian and Mexican counterparts where, for the first time, more specifics regarding the intentions of the new administration could be forthcoming.

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