REGINA –Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says there are hopeful signs for trade and jobs after a meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump.
Wall says Trump is now talking about policies to create jobs in North America, not just the United States.
“I’m hopeful, because when we hear Americans concerned about job loss and trade issues, by and large, they’re reference to countries is limited to Mexico and China. Canada’s not on that list,” Wall said Monday after visiting a Regina grain company that sells products around the world.
There are fears that Canadians could be hurt as Trump eyes a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trump acknowledged Monday that his bigger concern is with Mexico and his goal would be to “tweak” those elements affecting Canada to better streamline cross-border trade.
Wall said Trudeau did a good job of pointing out that the Canadian and U.S. economies are inextricably linked.
Canada is the top export market for 35 states and nine million American jobs depend directly on Canadian trade, he said.
The premier added he plans to head to Washington, probably in April, and one issue he plans to raise is steel. He wants to see steel from Regina-based pipe manufacturer Evraz used in pipeline projects, although Trump .
Wall said he’ll point out that Canada is actually a net importer of steel.
“It’s both defensive and it’s positive,” said Wall.
“But it’s a message we need to share with our American friends if they’re thinking about some sort of ‘Buy American’ approach, for example, on steel, to point out that there’s much to lose on both sides of this trade relationship if either side gets too protectionist.”
When Trump revived the possibility last month of the Keystone XL pipeline project going ahead, he said one of the conditions would be that U.S. steel be used.