Canadian Prime Minister Says Contingency Plans Are In Place Should NAFTA Fail

Speaking a day after the latest round of negotiations aimed at revising the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) concluded in Montreal, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that he doesn't believe U.S. President Donald Trump will pull out of the longstanding trade pact.

Speaking on the CBC Radio program “The House,” Prime Minister Trudeau added that Ottawa has devised multiple contingency plans and is ready should trade talks go south and NAFTA end up being canceled.

"Not only do we have a Plan B, we have a Plan C and D and E and F," said Prime Minister Trudeau.

The latest round of NAFTA negotiations between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico wrapped in Montreal on Monday with the trade ministers from the three countries agreeing that some progress was made but acknowledging there are still tough challenges ahead.

"What Plan B involves is standing up for Canadians and making sure that we move forward in the best possible way, and depending on what the Americans do, depending on what decisions the administration takes, we'll make sure that we do the right things," said Prime Minister Trudeau in the radio interview. "Just know that we have looked at a broad range of scenarios and have an approach that is going to continue to stand up for Canadian jobs while we diversify our markets."

Asked point blank if he thinks President Trump will serve the six months’ notice required for the U.S. to pull out of NAFTA, Prime Minister Trudeau responded: “I don't think the president is going to be cancelling it… Our message has been consistent, to the president, to our partners and friends in the United States: NAFTA has been good for American jobs. It's been good for Canadian jobs."

Also on Tuesday, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was in Washington, D.C. where he defended NAFTA before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Mr. Mulroney, a key player in the initial trilateral pact, hit on the key points being made by Canadian politicians: that free trade has economically benefited the U.S. and Canada, and is part of the foundation holding up one of the closest bilateral relationships in the world.

"How do you explain today a 4.1% unemployment rate in the United States, and a similar rate in Canada and growing prosperity in Mexico?" said Mr. Mulroney. "What happened, of course, is that we got together and we built a $21 trillion market with millions and millions of new jobs in North America, in all places."

A seventh round of NAFTA negotiations is scheduled to take place in Mexico from February 26 to March 6.