Trump says Canada is being “very difficult” in NAFTA talks, suggests terminating

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump is again suggesting that NAFTA be terminated, this time saying that both Canada and Mexico are being “very difficult,” but observers didn’t take the threat too seriously Sunday.

While the president has threatened to end the trade agreement before, this is the first time Trump has complained about Canada’s role in the talks.

Canada, the U.S. and Mexico began formal negotiations earlier this month to rework the 23-year-old trade deal.

When Trump previously threatened to blow up NAFTA, a representative for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said “heated rhetoric” is common in trade negotiations, but that Canada’s priorities remain the same.

Sui Sui, an economics professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, said she doesn’t take Trump’s comments too seriously, because these kind of talks ”should be hard.”

“This is a pretty normal trade negotiation: each party fights (for) the best interests of their own country,” she said. ”The Canadian government is just doing their job, same as the Mexican government.”

Robert Holleyman, former deputy trade czar under Barack Obama, also doesn’t expect Trump would follow through with his threat to withdraw the U.S. from the trade deal. In a Twitter post on Sunday morning, Holleyman cited agricultural interests and dissent from Congress as barriers to the president’s plan.

“Mark my words. He will not pull out of NAFTA,” he wrote.

Trade economist Dan Trefler, professor at the University of Toronto and senior research fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, agrees that Trump’s Twitter rhetoric is unlikely to translate to action. For one thing, the president is unlikely to receive the congressional approval he would need to act on a major trade agreement. ”Congress has been more involved in these trade negotiations than it’s ever been involved in any previous trade negotiation,” Trefler says.

And while withdrawing from NAFTA would appeal to parts of Trump’s base — people who work in manufacturing jobs in states like Michigan and Wisconsin, for instance — Trefler says it would alienate Trump’s many supporters in the farm belt.

In Trefler’s view, focusing on Trump’s inflammatory Twitter posts can detract from the things his administration is doing. “It’s easy for him to make these kinds of statements, because they play to the image,” he says.

“Trump has only one audience, and that’s the electorate.”

Just Posted

Accused murderer takes stand

Jason Klaus said he had no idea his family would be killed by Joshua Frank

St. Patrick’s school modernization could include asbestos removal

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools have told staff, students and parents connected… Continue reading

Campaign renews push to make Bighorn Backcountry a wildland provincial park, ATV groups unhappy

A push to provide provincial protection for the Bighorn Backcountry area has… Continue reading

Providing more services while keeping taxes low is Blackfalds’ dilemma

Town has undergone years of above-average growth

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

Update: Innisfail girl found

A 15-year-old missing Innisfail girl has been located safe and sound. Police… Continue reading

Cost to fix Phoenix pay system to surpass $540 million, auditor general says

The federal government’s chronic salary struggles will take more time and more… Continue reading

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

CP Holiday train makes stops in Central Alberta

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month