March 31, 2008
REGINA – The North American Free Trade Agreement will stand regardless of who wins the coming presidential election south of the border, the United States’ ambassador to Canada said Monday.
David Wilkins told a trade group in Regina that NAFTA’s survival does not depend on whether Democrats or Republicans control the White House.
“Despite all the political rhetoric, in my opinion our relationship will remain strong. There’ll be no major changes … to our trade policies with our friend Canada,” said Wilkins.
“Our relationship is so strong and so deep that it’s not dependent on which party is in power, either in Canada or the U.S. Our relationship transcends politics.”
The comments come after a debate in Ohio last month where Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton threatened to withdraw from NAFTA if it isn’t renegotiated. Both say they want changes to NAFTA to better protect workers and the environment.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently cautioned against opening up the deal, warning Ottawa would come with a list of demands, too.
But Wilkins said NAFTA is too important to both countries to do away with it or make drastic changes.
“I don’t think it’s in danger of being rescinded or changed substantially. It’s been a great benefit to both our countries,” said Wilkins. “While you’ve had some comments about it, one way or the other … I think NAFTA will prevail.”
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