by Bob Nault MP
KENORA – With the first round of renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) set to begin on August 16 in Washington, I want to assure constituents of our riding and all Canadians of our commitment to vigorously defend Canadian interests and obtain the best agreement possible for Canadians.
Canada and the United States have built the most peaceful and mutually beneficial partnership in the world. It is a partnership that supports millions of middle class jobs in both countries. Canada serves as the number-one customer for the majority of American states and among the top three customers of 48 states.
In advance of the renegotiations, Canada has strengthened our diplomatic outreach to the United States with the appointment of new consuls general and a new deputy ambassador in Washington. A new NAFTA Council will bring together experts from a range of political and professional backgrounds to offer their best strategic advice in support of Canada’s negotiations.
Canada has recently shown its ability to negotiate fair trade agreements. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the most progressive trade agreement ever negotiated by Canada or the European Union.
While softwood lumber is not specifically connected to NAFTA, I want to reassure you that Canada will continue to vigorously defend the interests of the softwood lumber industry both here in the riding and across the country. Our objective is clear, as we continue to insist that any agreement reached with our neighbours to the south must be mutually beneficial and fair. While negotiations are always tough, I am confident that we will get there so that the softwood lumber industry in our riding stays strong and viable for future generations.