Trudeau pitches free trade in speech to United States governors

Vice President Mike Pence

"The relationship between our countries is historic".

On Monday, 30 days before formal talks begin, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer's office is expected to publish his negotiating objectives, outlining the Trump administration's path going forward.

Canada's Prime Minister took the opportunity to take on the Trump Administration on the issue of free-trade during his visit to Providence for the Summer Meeting of the National Governors Association.

But just days before the U.S.is expected to release its trading objectives, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland still won't say whether she thinks President Donald Trump is after renovations or a complete demolition of NAFTA, which first came into force in 1994.

"And that hurts the very workers these measures are nominally meant to protect", Trudeau said. "If anything, we'd like a thinner border for trade, not a thicker one", he said.

"Since the trilateral agreement went into effect in 1994, US trade with your NAFTA partners has tripled".

He cited statistics that show Canada is the No. 1 export target for 35 US states, claiming that 9 million U.S.jobs are dependent on cross-border commerce. Free trade has worked.

"But NAFTA isn't ideal".

"On behalf of President Trump, the vice president recognized the importance of the beneficial USA trade and investment relationship with Canada, while expressing the need to work together to address lingering trade disagreements", a White House statement said. "And I have every expectation that it will be to the ultimate benefit of working people in all three partner countries", he continued.

Candidate Trump railed against NAFTA, dubbing it "the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere" in 2016.

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