MP Ed Fast gave a speech about the North American Free Trade Agreement to an agriculture business crowd Thursday morning. Kelvin Gawley/Abbotsford News

‘Trump doesn’t care much about the rules,’ says former minister of international trade

MP Ed Fast spoke to farmers about NAFTA negotiations

Canada’s former minister of international trade says the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is being renegotiated based on a false premise established by the American president.

Ed Fast said Donald Trump has initiated the talks based on the falsehood that his country is at a disadvantage in trade. In fact, it is Canada that has a slight trade deficit with its southern neighbour, the Abbotsford MP told an agriculture business crowd Thursday morning.

Fast was speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors at Tanglebank Gardens and Brambles Bistro.

Canada is dealing with a president who has “appealed to the basest instincts” of rust-belt voters to whom he has promised great things, Fast said. The high expectations of his supporters put the pressure on Trump to either kill NAFTA or restructure it dramatically, he said.

But Fast also had some praise for Trump. He applauded his deep corporate tax cuts, which he said would attract investment to the U.S.

Despite his Conservative Party’s place in opposition, Fast said he had full confidence in Canada’s negotiation team that has been meeting with Mexican and American counterparts in recent months. But he said he questions some direction coming from the Liberal cabinet.

Fast said he was most worried about the threat to supply management – the marketing system that protects dairy, eggs and poultry producers. He said U.S. negotiators have the system in their sights, as they see it as an unfair advantage Canadian farmers have over Americans.

Trump’s zero-sum game view of trade is simply inaccurate, Fast said. On the very day the deal was signed, Fast praised the salvaging of the Trans Pacific Partnership with 10 other nations – including Japan, Australia and Mexico – that was put in jeopardy when the U.S. pulled out last year.

Fast also said he was happy to read reports that Trump is considering exemptions for both Canada and Mexico for his proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. (The exemptions were confirmed by U.S. officials just a few hours after Fast’s talk.)

He also said he expects other countries affected by Trump’s protectionist trade policies to file disputes with the World Trade Organization. But even if they do, Fast said the president will probably be undeterred.

“Donald Trump doesn’t care much about the rules,” he said.


@KelvinGawley
kelvin.gawley@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

WildSafe program wraps up quiet season for District of Kent, Harrison

Black bears biggest source of calls in the FVRD

Upper Fraser RCMP joins Twitter

Twitter feed once limited to Chilliwack expands

Week of snow storms finally fades

Six snowstorms in seven days pours on more than 40 cm

VIDEO: Time’s running out for Montreal Alumni tickets in Hope

Habs will face off against Hope hockey players on Saturday afternoon

Westbound Highway 1 roll-over crash slowing commuters in Abbotsford

Accident occurred just west of Mt. Lehman Road, left lane blocked

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Deer carcass strung up at Surrey fire hall prompts investigation

Investigation underway following complaint a Surrey firefighter hung a deer carcass in a fire hall

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Most Read