NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh would be open to signing a bilateral trade deal with the United States if President Donald Trump decides to tear up NAFTA.
In an interview with Evan Solomon, host of CTV’s Question Period, the federal leader of the New Democrats said as long as the agreement is fair, he’s willing to deal.
“The trade has to be fair. So, the agreements whether it’s multilateral, whether it’s bilateral, those agreements are all on the table,” Singh said.
Asked specifically if he would be would be ok if Trump ripped up the North American Free Trade Agreement and turned to Canada to work out something between the two countries, Singh said “absolutely.”
“I’d be open to any form of trade as long as it’s fair, as long as the agreements are fair we should be open to any form,” he said.
His comments were made as Trump’s tough talk on trade was a central focus at the G7 summit in Quebec. Over the last few weeks, Trump has ratcheted up his attacks on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and, as he perceives it, Canada’s unfair trade practices.
It’s been floated, and stated by the American leader himself that he’s contemplating a different approach to stalled NAFTA talks: trying to negotiate separate deals with both Canada and Mexico.
This has all followed the U.S. administration’s imposition of tariffs on Canada and Mexico’s steel and aluminum industries. Both countries have responded with retaliatory countermeasures, though Canada and Mexico have said they are still willing to work out a modernized NAFTA agreement.
“As long as the agreements are fair for workers, that they don’t put undue burdens on the environment, they don’t take away rights from workers, they create a competitive environment,” Singh said. “We’ve got to make sure that it’s a fair deal, any sort of deal is on the table.”
Singh also said the impacts of workers are often overshadowed in the exchange of rhetoric involved in trade wars, and suggested the government consider the tools at its disposal to assist those hurt by the steel and aluminum tariffs, without offering a specific suggestion.
“In a trade war scenario, we’ve got retaliatory measures and tariffs and different things going back and forth. It’s important to keep that focus on what we can do to insure that workers get a good deal out of this, that workers are protected,” he said.
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