The inaugural meeting today between US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared cordial and constructive, which was the desired outcome for many Canadian business groups, says the Canadian Trucking Alliance.
There was no specific mention of NAFTA in the joint release issued by the two leaders. Instead, it affirmed “the importance of building on (the) existing strong foundation for trade and investment and further deepening our relationship, with the common goal of strengthening the middle class.”
Specifically, the joint statement included a couple of substantive issues of interest to the trucking industry. In discussing a shared focus on infrastructure investments, the two leaders said they “look forward to the expeditious completion of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, which will serve as a vital economic link between our two countries.”
Also noteworthy was Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Trudeau’s statement recognizing “the success of pre-clearance operations for travelers” and their commitment “to establishing pre-clearance operations for cargo.”
As for how current trade agreements between Canada and the U.S. would be addressed at the inaugural meeting, both leaders voiced strong support of enhancing the longstanding relationship.
“The United States and Canada also recognize the importance of cooperation to promote economic growth, provide benefits to our consumers and businesses, and advance free and fair trade. We will continue our dialogue on regulatory issues and pursue shared regulatory outcomes that are business-friendly, reduce costs, and increase economic efficiency without compromising health, safety, and environmental standards. We will work together regarding labour mobility in various economic sectors,” the statement read.
In the press conference that followed the meeting, the President spoke about the “outstanding” Canada-US trade relationship. When asked about past comments related to NAFTA, he suggested that “tweaks” could be undertaken to improve the border for both countries. He described the U.S.’ trade relationship between Canada to be “much less severe” than the situation at the southern border.
The two leaders, not surprisingly, agreed that border security continues to be “a top priority,” but struck a balanced tone in terms of security versus trade.
“Together, we address security at our shared border and throughout our two countries, while expediting legitimate and vital cross-border trade and travel. We demonstrate daily that security and efficiency go hand-in-hand, and we are building a 21st century border through initiatives such as pre-clearance of people and integrated cross-border law enforcement operations.”
David Bradley, CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, said his 4,500 member companies “will be greatly relieved by what we heard today.”
“This creates a good foundation for moving forward on initiatives to jointly grow our economies in the spirit of cooperation that has defined the Canada-US relationship for over 200 years,” he said. “The opportunities to deploy state of the art infrastructure and technology – starting with key projects like the Gordie Howe International Bridge – to ensure that both security and trade facilitation is improved are immense. We are encouraged by what we heard today.”