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Sean King Weighs in on Canada-US Trade Relations

Last week, President Donald Trump met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to talk about revising portions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Sean King, Senior Vice President of Park Strategies, offered his thoughts on the subject in a recent interview with the Vancouver Sun.

“[Details on NAFTA changes] remain to be seen, and that’s up to the trade negotiators to handle. But I think that Canadians can just know that—whatever changes are made—that they are not the main targets. There’s nobody out to get Canada,” King stated.

This comes as a relief to Canadian officials, many of whom had concerns about the renegotiation. But King was also quick to note that there would likely still be some friction, particularly in regards to softwood lumber.

“We do have our occasional disputes, but by and large, the Canada-US relationship is pretty solid and without acrimony,” King explained. “[Trump] has made it clear his main problem with NAFTA is more with the Mexican side than the Canadian side.”

As the former Senior Advisor for Asia in the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service, King finds Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership far more concerning. However, King does believe that it leaves an open opportunity for Canada and Japan to become even closer trading partners.

There’s been rumor about a bilateral negotiation between Tokyo and Ottawa for quite a while. But now that Japan’s ambassador to Canada has urged other countries to ratify the TPP in light of Washington’s rejection, it’s looking more and more like that’s the direction that the two countries will go.

“If Japan and Canada were to move forward—and I assume that Canada would not require currency to be part of it—I think it would be great for companies on both sides, and it may encourage people in the U.S. to get with the program and get on board, to show us what we are missing out on.”

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