Alberta trade minister says NAFTA talks no threat to oil and gas industry

CALGARY — Alberta’s minister of trade says Canada’s oil and gas industry has little to worry about as wide-ranging North American trade negotiations get underway.

Speaking Thursday after a conference of state governments in Tacoma, Wash., Minister Deron Bilous said U.S. lawmakers recognize the importance of an integrated energy market.

He said Alberta government representatives have been meeting with U.S. counterparts regularly to emphasize the importance of market access and open borders, and he’s been encouraging industry members to do the same.

Bilous said efforts in recent months were helpful in effectively killing the proposal for a border adjustment tax, which could have set tariffs for oil and gas imports from Canada and presented one of the biggest trade threats to the industry.

He said the provincial government is also pushing for more open borders for agriculture and other products, and the need to harmonize regulations to speed up the flow of goods.

The minister’s comments come a day after NAFTA trade negotiations kicked off in Washington, D.C., with dozens of topics set to be covered in the talks.

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