SAINT-JEAN-DE-LUZ, FRANCE – U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touted their trilateral trade agreement in their meeting at the sidelines of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France.
“Quite frankly, around the table there’s a lot of people wanting to make trade deals with each other,” Trudeau said, adding that the U.S. and Canada have a deal that’s “good for our workers, good for our citizens, good for the middle class.”
My focus at the #G7 is working with our allies to strengthen the middle class – not just in Canada but around the world as well. We just wrapped up a productive first day in France, tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges. More to come tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/55pIiguuNO
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) August 25, 2019
Trump said that the two countries will be “significantly expanding” trade relations once the USMCA (U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement) is done.
Negotiations are final but the agreement has not yet been ratified by the U.S. Congress. The White House is pushing for an immediate ratification but Democrats and organized labor said certain provisions must first be improved.
The USMCA replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, which Trump at the meeting again called “the worst trade agreements ever done”.
Trump added that the only thing worse than NAFTA is the World Trade Organization. “The WTO, that’s a beauty.” he said.
Trudeau is pushing for action on climate change at the summit, in line with his Liberal government’s agenda to highlight its achievement on this issue ahead of Canada’s October election.
French President Emmanuel Macron, host of the summit has put climate issues high on the agenda for discussion, particularly focusing on the wildfires in the Amazon rainforest.
The leaders’ focus on climate change have put them at odds with an American president known for his anti-climate stance. In June 2017, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Accord, a multilateral climate pact championed by the Obama administration.
The New York Times reported that senior Trump administration officials have accused Macron’s aides of ignoring requests by White House officials to keep the focus on security and the threat of a recession, and emphasizing instead on climate change, gender equality, and African development, which highlight disagreements the Trump administration.