On Justin Trudeau’s+ official state visit to the United States on February 13th, Justin Trudeau brought Donald Trump a photograph of the President and the late Pierre Trudeau, a charismatic Prime Minister in the 1970s. Mr. Trudeau’s gentle stroking of Trump’s ego seemed to help the President to decide Canada has little to fear from Mr. Trump’s renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which gives Canada, Mexico and the United States preferential access to each other’s markets.
Prior to the visit, Canadians were nervous. Mr. Trump’s repeated threats of ripping apart NAFTA seemed to apply to Mexico. 65% of Canada’s GDP is equivalent to the value of Canadian trade, meaning if Mr. Trump’s policy of renegotiating or rescinding NAFTA to bring an era of American protectionism applies to Canada will suffer a major economic plummet and political turmoil.
The Canadian dislike of Mr. Trump is evident in recent polls, which show 75% share a dislike for Trump. The New Democrats, an opposition party, urged Mr. Trudeau to condemn Mr. Trump for his ban on refugees (some have crossed in Canada to claim asylum). Mr. Trudeau maintained a calm and cool facade, whilst preserving Canadian dignity by hinting displeasure with Mr. Trump’s policy.
Mr. Trudeau’s crafty diplomacy seemed to assist Mr. Trump’s conclusion that trading relations with Canada are outstanding, whilst agreements with Mexico remain unjust. According to the President, adjustments to the trade agreement will “benefit both of our countries”. Mr. Trump prefers bi-lateral deals, many believe NAFTA will be replaced with separate agreements with Canada and Mexico. Mr. Trump’s “buy American” program might reveal a false genuity by discriminating against Canadian exports. According to the think tank, C.D. Howe Institute, a border adjustments imports could reduce the Canadian GDP by 1%. This would be a poor “thank you” for Trudeau’s generosity.