U.S. President Donald Trump launched his hardest rebuke of Canada since taking office on Thursday, blasting the country for “taking advantage” of American workers and promising future trade reforms.
At the signing of the Memorandum Regarding the Investigation Pursuant to Section 232(B) of the Trade Expansion Act, President Trump criticized current trade relations with Canada while also speaking about his plans to fight for American workers and restore jobs.
“I want to end and add by saying that Canada, what they've done to our dairy farm workers is a disgrace. It's a disgrace,” said Trump. “I spent time with some of the farmers in Wisconsin, and, as you know, rules, regulations, different things have changed. And our farmers in Wisconsin and New York State are being put out of business, our dairy farmers. And that also includes what’s happening along our northern border states with Canada, having to do with lumber and timber.”
Without going into much detail, Trump promised that in the coming weeks his administration will be planning to hit the negotiating table with Canada and Mexico to correct trade policies in three areas: energy, dairy and lumber.
“The fact is, NAFTA -- whether it’s Mexico or Canada -- is a disaster for our country. It’s a disaster. It’s a trading disaster,” said Trump in the Oval Office. “And we’ll be reporting back sometime over the next two weeks as to NAFTA and what we’re going to do about it. But what happened to our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and New York State -- we’re not going to let it happen”
“We can’t let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers. And again, I want to also just mention, included in there is lumber, timber, and energy. So we’re going to have to get to the negotiating table with Canada very, very quickly.”
Reforming the North American Free Trade Agreement was a central campaign promise while Trump was running for President. However, because the U.S. President refrained from providing much detail, it’s unclear exactly what specific reforms will be discussed during future trade negotiations.