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Where does Trump's 'America First' leave Canada?

Wednesday - 02/05/2018 20:15
Donald Trump has been keeping Canada on its toes since he became US president at the start of last year.
GETTY IMAGES / Donald Trump has given Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau much to think about
GETTY IMAGES / Donald Trump has given Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau much to think about

When it comes to matters of trade, Mr Trump has been resolutely hawkish, vowing repeatedly to put "America first".

As the US is far and away Canada's largest trading partner, this has inevitably caused concern north of the border.

And given that Mr Trump has repeatedly threatened to tear up the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) between the US, Canada, and Mexico, alarm in Ottawa has been somewhat justified.

Especially as Donald Trump's administration has already hit Canadian softwood lumber with import tariffs of more than 20%.

Why are Trump and Trudeau fighting over trees?
Why are Trump and Trudeau fighting over trees?
 

Mr Trump hasn't pulled the US out of Nafta, despite having once called it "the worst trade deal ever made".

Instead talks have taken place since August of last year between US, Canadian and Mexican trade representatives to agree a new deal.

While a deadline of 1 May to sign a new agreement came and went, a new one has been set for 1 June, and face-to-face talks are due to resume on 7 May. In Ottawa there is renewed optimism that a decent deal can be agreed.

"There is positive momentum, but as we all know it won't be done until it's done," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday.

Yet despite key voices south of the border backing Canada's call for a positive new Nafta agreement, such as the US Chamber of Commerce, some Canadian industries remain nervous.

A farmer worker in Wisconsin
GETTY IMAGES
Donald Trump wants the US dairy industry to have improved access to the Canadian market

"There's a lot of worry," says Francois Dumontier, spokesman for the Milk Producers of Quebec organisation.

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