On NAFTA, Trudeau emphasizes mutual dependence

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Gov.of Texas Greg Abbott, in Houston on Friday, March 10, 2017. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

With President Donald Trump promising to renegotiate NAFTA, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said any deal would reflect the degree to which the two economies are dependent on one another.

“Canada is very aware of the opportunities that come with the close integration with the American market, but we also know millions upon millions of good paying middle class jobs here in the United States, including right here in Texas, that depend upon Canada,” he said during a press conference in downtown Houston.

Trudeau was responding to comments by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that Canada must be willing to make concessions as the United reopens negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Canadian leader, who was in Houston for the CERAWeek energy conference, downplayed tensions between the two countries, stating NAFTA had been “tweaked and improved over a dozen times over the past 20 years.”

“One of the things we always emphasize, and we always look for as a country is not a zero sum gain in terms of negotiation,” he said. “We believe that proper collaboration and respectful dialogue actually leads to significant benefits for both sides.”

On Friday Trudeau also met with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee before flying back to Ottawa in the afternoon.

“As Texas’ second largest export destination, Canada is a strong trading partner with Texas, especially in the energy sector” Abbott said in a statement.