Canada's Trudeau pokes Trump on NAFTA deal

Donna Leinwand Leger

DAVOS, Switzerland - Hours after Canada agreed to an Asia-Pacific trade deal, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a poke at President Trump's aversion to NAFTA on Tuesday by promoting the trade accord with the United States and Mexico.

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, gestures during a conversation on corporate responsibility and the role of women in a changing world during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 23, 2018.

“We’re working very hard to show our neighbor to the south just how good NAFTA is,” Trudeau said at the World Economic Forum here.

Canadian and U.S. trade negotiators are at work in Montreal to hash out a new version of NAFTA — the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement — because of Trump's insistence that the deal works against U.S. companies and employees.

Canada is the United States' largest trading partner, and they enjoy one of the largest trading relationships in the world — nearly $882 billion in 2016 in two-way commerce.

Trudeau, speaking to a crowd of business and government leaders assembled in this Alpine resort, sought to emphasize his country’s desire to expand and diversify its trade. Trump has also derided the Asia-Pacific deal and pulled the U.S. out of it. 

“It’s a great day for Canada but also a great day for progressive trade around the world,” Trudeau said of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the sans-U.S. version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

One of Trump’s first acts after taking office last year was to withdraw from the 12-nation TPP, which would have loosened trade restrictions among member countries of Asia, including Japan, and the United States. China was specifically excluded from the agreement because of its export clout and concerns about unfair trading practices. 

The agreement now includes Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.