Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized President Donald Trump Wednesday night, saying the president “doesn’t always follow the rules” of international trade. As CBC News reports, Trudeau was addressing his insistence that any renewed NAFTA deal that includes Canada must include a dispute resolution provision — Chapter 19 of the current agreement.
“One of the things that is clear is that we have red lines that Canadians simply will not accept,” Trudeau told Edmonton radio station CHED. “We need to keep the Chapter 19 dispute resolution because that ensures that the rules are actually followed and we know we have a president who doesn’t always follow the rules as they’re laid out.”
Trudeau continued to indicate that he is changing course in his negotiating demands, shifting from the inviolability of supply management for dairy farmers to his demand that Canada retain cultural sovereignty — something the United States has never questioned. Trudeau event suggested he might drop his hardline defense of a Canadian dairy industry that keeps prices higher by regulating the supply of its products.
“We will defend supply management, as I’ve said, but is there room for flexibility? We’ll see, and that depends on the kinds of negotiations we have,” he told CHED. “We’re not going to accept that we have to sign a bad deal just because the president wants that. We’ll walk away and not sign a deal rather than sign a bad deal for Canadians.”
Trudeau’s hutzpa came as Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland continues with exhausting negotiations in Washington with Trump’s trade representative, Robert Lighthizer.
Freeland told reporters Wednesday that the prime minister’s words were “important.”
“I agree with the prime minister in public all of the time and in private 99.99 percent of the time. And I think those comments, you know, he made some important comments,” she told a media scrum.
Trump again reiterated his claim that the existing NAFTA is “a very stupid deal for the United States.”
“I’m not blaming Canada. I love Canada,” he told reporters in the Oval Office. “But they and other countries have been taking advantage of the United States for many years. And this is the president that has stopped it.”