MONTREAL: Canada’s international trade minister said Thursday that pressure by US President-elect Donald Trump would not keep American firms from investing in Canada or prompt them to withdraw any investments already made.
“The fact that Canada is now one of the countries in the world that supports an open society and open trade is a good reason to invest in Canada,” Chrystia Freeland told a press conference.
“US businesses that have already made investments in Canada understand the intelligence and the quality of Canadian workers,” she added.
The minister’s comments follow Trump’s threats to slap General Motors, Ford and Toyota with import taxes for building automobiles in Mexico intended for the US market.
Ford announced Tuesday it would cancel plans for a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico after coming under attack by Trump.
Canada, the United States and Mexico have been linked since 1994 by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Trump has said he would like to renegotiate.
But Freeland stressed the unique nature of the two countries’ economic interdependence.
“I think that this is a very special relationship that we have, a very different relationship, compared to the relationship the US has with other countries,” she said.
“I think that it is the most productive trade relationship that we have and the most balanced one we have in the world,” Freeland said, noting that Canada is the top export market for 37 US states, with nine million US jobs dependent on such trade.
“There’s no question of separating those two economies,” she said, adding that it was “very important for us as a government to explain to the new American government just what kind of economic relations exist between our two countries.”