Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s one-day swing through Houston isn’t just a platform to tout his commitment to energy development and environmental responsibility.
Trudeau is also gathering support for free trade with Canada and against U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed border tax adjustment. Trudeau met with business leaders in Houston early Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott mid-morning and Alaskan Sen. Lisa Murkowski a bit later.
Trump has hinted that he’s not seeking to vastly change the trade relationship with Canada as outlined in the North American Free Trade Agreement. It’s trade at the southern border that concerns Trump most.
But Trump’s proposed border tax adjustment worries Trudeau. Some estimate it could add 20 percent to the cost of imports on U.S. companies and discourage such trade.
Trudeau, in a question-and-answer session after his speech to the industry’s CERAWeek conference on Thursday night, blasted the idea.
“Anything that creates impediments at the border — extra tariffs, new taxes — is something that we’re concerned about,” Trudeau said. “We believe in trade that is free and fair.”
Trudeau met with Trump last month. At the Hilton Americas-Houston on Thursday, Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of conference sponsor IHS Markit, asked Trudeau how the visit went.
Trudeau played coy.
“We’re Canadian,” Trudeau quipped. “We get along with everybody.”