Trump is Happy with Canada Trade Pact

Trudeau - Trump

CBJ — A leaked transcript of a Donald Trump phone call shows the president’s private comments about trade with Canada, and suggests he had an overwhelmingly positive attitude about the northern neighbour as he entered office. All the public blustering about redoing the NAFTA agreement has been aimed directly at Mexico.

The purported remarks made in a private phone call from late January are every bit as flattering as the president’s remarks a few weeks later when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the White House.

They came in a call with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, and were part of a leaked transcript that was published by the Washington Post. The context for the exchange was Trump’s bitter and escalating feud with Mexico at the time.

Pena Nieto cancelled a trip to Washington over an argument over who would pay for the well-talked about wall. In the telephone discussion, Trump told the Mexican president that he got huge crowds during the campaign, promising throngs of 25,000 to 50,000 people that Mexico would pay for the wall.

Pena Nieto supposedly encouraged a more positive discussion: He urged Trump to focus on the fact that the three NAFTA countries could negotiate a new trade framework. That prompted a rejoinder from Trump.

“Canada is no problem,” Trump replied, according to the leaked transcript. “Do not worry about Canada, do not even think about them. That is a separate thing and they are fine and we have had a very fair relationship with Canada. It has been much more balanced and much more fair. So we do not have to worry about Canada, we do not even think about them.”

Those remarks echo public comments he made a few days later at a news conference with Trudeau. His rhetoric has ebbed and flowed since then. Trump has complained about Canadian dairy and lumber policies, and often threatens to scrap NAFTA barring a new deal.