BUFFALO, NY (WBFO) – Canada’s Foreign Minister is expected to travel to Washington Tuesday to begin negotiations, one day after the Trump administration announced was a tentative deal with Mexico that would end and replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. In Buffalo, the president of the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara suggested it’s no cause for alarm.
Craig Turner, when asked about Monday’s announcement by the White House, told WBFO it should not be a surprise. Negotiations to reqork was in the works, even if making a public announcement said it’s been in the works and should be no cause for alarm to those who recognize the cross-border exchange of goods important to this region’s economy.
“There’s hubbub today because the announcement was made but for the past month, two months, this has been the path,” Turner said. “The US and Mexico were going to work their piece of it out and add Canada into the conversation. It appeared for the past several weeks that everyone was comfortable with the way it was progressing.”
Canada’s Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, said her nation would only agree to a new deal if it were in the best interests of Canada. Supporters of NAFTA in Western New York say it’s been a valuable component in the regional economy because of the ability it has allowed to move goods and services across the border, often times more than once. In some instances, components are moved back and forth in a manufacturing process until the finished product is ready for distribution into a local or global market.
“Everybody involved is on the edge of their seat, waiting to see what happens here. But I think as we continuie to navigate, and we continue to talk to our elected officials and let them know and remind them how important this is to our region, I think that’s an important part of the story,” Turner said. “How does that resonate in Washington when there’s bigger conversations going on? We just need to continue to keep up the pressure and grassroots support on it.”
Canada is the United States’ second-largest trading partner behind China.