Trudeau emphasizes Canadian-US ties in speech to US governors
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized the importance of the Canada-United States partnership to U.S. governors on Friday, despite various policy differences between himself and President Trump.

“The relationship between our countries is historic. It is a model to the world. It is of critical importance to people on both sides of the border that we maintain and indeed improve it. We must get this right,” Trudeau told the National Governors Association at their summer meeting in Rhode Island.

The Canadian leader addressed the issue of free trade, which has been approached by the Trump administration with skepticism. He is the first Canadian prime minister to speak to the National Governors Association.

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“Sometimes getting it right means refusing to take the politically tempting shortcuts. More trade barriers, more local content provisions, more preferential access for homegrown players and government procurement, for example, does not help working families over the long term or even the midterm,” Trudeau said.

“Such policies kill growth. And that hurts the very workers these measures are nominally intended to protect. Once we travel down that road, it can quickly become a cycle of tit-for-tat, a race to the bottom, where all sides lose,” he continued.

“Canada doesn't want to go there. If anything, we'd like a thinner border for trade, not a thicker one," he said.

Trudeau also voiced his support for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) but said improvements were always welcome.

“Since the trilateral agreement went into effect in 1994, U.S. trade with your NAFTA partners has tripled. That accounts for millions of well paying middle-class jobs, for Canadians and Americans. Free trade has worked. It’s working now,” the Canadian leader said.

But NAFTA isn’t perfect. No such agreement ever is. We think it should be updated and modernized as it has been a dozen times over the past quarter century. And I have every expectation that it will be to the ultimate benefit of working people in all three partner countries,” he continued.

Trump has expressed a need for the U.S. to adopt an “America first” approach to international trade on the campaign trail and in the White House.

As a presidential candidate, Trump railed against NAFTA, dubbing it “the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere” in 2016.

However, since taking office the president has since said he will work to renegotiate the trade deal.