Canada takes ‘Hug-an-American’ approach to saving NAFTA

Canada’s chief negotiator Steve Verheul, center, arriving for the fifth round of Nafta renegotiations in Mexico City on Nov. 17. Many observers say the next round, later this month in Montreal, could be make-or-break for the trilateral trade pact’s future. /PHOTO: ALEJANDRO CEGARRA/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Concerned about Trump administration’s push to remake trade pact, Ottawa reaches for allies among U.S. governors, legislators and business leaders

By Paul Vieira and Sara Schaefer Muñoz | The Wall Street Journal

Days after talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement soured over a U.S. proposal on car production, Canada’s Transport Minister Marc Garneau flew to Windsor, Ontario, to meet with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at an art museum overlooking the Detroit skyline.

“We have a highly integrated auto industry and supply chain,” Mr. Garneau said he told the governor in late October. “I wanted to point out that it would be important we don’t put that in jeopardy.”

As NAFTA talks have grown contentious in areas such as national content in auto manufacturing, the Canadian side is working behind the scenes to press its agenda at back-channel meetings away from the negotiating table.

Canada’s Liberal government, which has adopted a more pugnacious tone with the Trump administration on trade, is working to charm governors, lawmakers and other U.S. opinion leaders.


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