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Canada worried about future of NAFTA

Obama, Clinton say they might pull out of agreement unless it is renegotiated

Canada worried about future of NAFTA

Canada's finance minister was critical Wednesday of U.S. Democratic presidential candidates for suggesting the U.S. might pull out of NAFTA, saying they ignore how it benefits Americans.
"I haven't had an opportunity to read precisely what has been said, but it is a concern," Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters.
"NAFTA is of tremendous benefit to Americans," he said. "Perhaps the nominees have not had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the benefit to Americans and the American economy of NAFTA ... (and) to recognize the mutual benefits that come out of free trade."
The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement created the largest trading bloc in the world by eliminating import tariffs on goods circulating among partners Canada, the United States and Mexico.
In a televised debate late Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama said they would ask Canada and Mexico for new concessions in the pact to strengthen their respective labor and environmental standards, or quit NAFTA within six months.
"I will say we will opt out of NAFTA unless we renegotiate," said Clinton, echoed by Obama, who commented: "We should use the hammer of a potential opt-out" to force Canada and Mexico to reopen trade talks.
Flaherty acknowledged that both Democrats' remarks were made in the heat of a tight presidential race.
But he urged them to better "familiarize" themselves with NAFTA and seek advice from "those who are very knowledgeable about NAFTA" before making sweeping judgments on its benefits, or lack thereof, for political gains.
His colleague, Trade Minister David Emerson commented: "There's no doubt if NAFTA were to be reopened we would want to have our list of priorities."


Updated : 2021-06-13 01:14 GMT+08:00