Trump Upbeat On NAFTA Talks

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

President Donald Trump was sounding upbeat about NAFTA on Thursday, despite predictions that Canada could lose thousands of jobs if renegotiation talks fail.

The Conference Board of Canada predicted Friday that 85,000 Canadian jobs will be lost if NAFTA talks fail.

Trump suggested there would be good news just around the corner for a renegotiated NAFTA — a trade deal he has consistently dissed as bad for America.

“I have a feeling we’re going to make a deal on NAFTA,” Trump said at the White House as he announced the 25 percent tariff on steel and another 10 percent tariff on aluminum — that would not apply to Canada and Mexico as long as the two countries linger at the negotiating table. Trump also reiterated his commitment to killing NAFTA if no satisfactory deal is reached “and then we’ll start all over again or we’ll just do it a different way.”

Prior to Trump’s announcement, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed confidence of a tariff exemption for Canada, due, he said, to persistent pressure from the Canadian government on the Trump administration, including a personal phone call to the president that week.

Although the Conference Board of Canada is suggesting the overall decline in the Canadian economy will only be about .5 percent, it cautions that this is an optimistic forecast that doesn’t consider the potential full impact of tariffs and other trade barriers.

The economic think tank maintains the largest impact will be felt by the auto sector, where exports of vehicles and parts could fall by $6 billion.

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