The atmosphere at the White House appeared cordial with the Prime Minister wearing a charming smile which appeared to coax the President out of his usual scowl.
The official press release was devoid of virtually any negative comments and in particular, no mention of tearing up nor even renegotiating NAFTA. Newt Gingrich in a Fox news piece Monday February 13, 2017 referenced that “A U.S. – Canada trade agreement may be a profitable parallel to a U.S. –Great Britain trade deal”. Mr. Gingrich’s thoughts seem to portend some significant change in NAFTA. President Trump has said in recent days that CAFTA, which some experts believe might be the fall back if the U.S. withdrew from NAFTA, was an acceptable deal.
Let’s return to the official joint statement which offered much good news for a variety of sectors. It noted that Canada is the most important market for 35 states and that we engage in more than $2 billion dollars in two way trade everyday which creates an d sustains millions of good paying jobs for middle class Americans and Canadians. Energy and Environment was next up and highlighted the world’s largest energy trading relationship which works to our mutual benefit as well as the fact the Keystone is a top priority for both leaders. A clear focus was properly placed on border security with no mention of the 9/11 myth that the terrorists came through Canada, but rather focused on NORAD, pre-clearance and the building of a 21stcentury border with information sharing beneficial to both countries. The release expressed a clear understanding of the need for infrastructure spending and the adoption of strategies like co-locating border officials. In a bit of a pleasant surprise the inclusion of language on empowering women in business was most welcome. It concluded with a commitment to continuing to strengthen our common bond for our mutual prosperity and security.
All in all for those of us who have an interest in this special relationship, it was a very good day, let’s hope it continues.
Mr. Owens is a former member of Congress representing the New York 21st and a Senior Advisor to Dentons.
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