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Prominent BC business leader worried over future of NAFTA

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VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Hope is fading whether Canada’s strongest trade agreement with the United States can be renewed.

A prominent business leader in BC is expecting the next round of NAFTA talks to be contentious.

Jock Finlayson, who’s the Chief Policy Officer with the Business Council of BC, says much has changed since negotiations aimed at simply modernizing the 23-year-old deal started.

“We thought there was a sort of good faith effort. Increasingly it appears the Americans are actually looking for a reason to put a bullet into NAFTA –at least President Trump is anyway. Negotiations so far do not appear to be going very well.”

The fourth round of talks ended with fears of a complete withdrawal by the United States and Finlayson admits he’s worried because that country is still our biggest trade partner.

“Prospects are not looking very rosy at the moment.”

He says the latest fiscal update from the federal government doesn’t seem to factor in what might happen if NAFTA falls apart.

“There’s almost no mention of this elephant in the room –the single biggest thing hanging over the economy.”

The council’s Chief Policy Officer is also echoing other stakeholders –including Premier John Horgan– who fear the US President is deliberately trying to sabotage the deal.

“It may be that the Trump administration wants to pull the pin on it. You can talk all you want about China and Europe, but the Americans overwhelmingly are our most important commercial partner, so the thought of unraveling it, is a profound source of uncertainty.”

Several Canadian lawmakers are travelling to Mexico City and Washington this week to lobby in favour of renewing NAFTA.