Action Needed to Educate Public on Value of Trade

CANADA, US & MEXICO - Saskatchewan's Agriculture Minister suggests a better job needs to be done in informing the Canadian, American and Mexican public of the value of trade among the three participants of the North American Free Trade Agreement, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 17 October 2017
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Delegations representing Canada, the United States and Mexico will be in Denver to discuss trade as part of the annual Tri-National Accord, slated for today, tomorrow and Thursday.

Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart, who will be taking Saskatchewan's message of the value of trade to the accord, observes there's been a gap in informing the public of the value of trade.

Lyle Stewart-Agriculture Minister Saskatchewan

I wish I could be more positive about it.

I don't think a lot of the general public understands the importance of trade and they certainly don't understand the importance of North American trade.

It's a natural for us.

Transportation costs are much reduced making trade between the three countries a bargain for everybody.

It makes goods much cheaper to export and much cheaper to import because of less transportation costs.

We understand each other very well, we know how each other does business.

This is a natural and hundreds of thousands of jobs rely on it in the three countries.

I wish the general public had a better understanding of how really important this is to our tax base and therefore everybody's standard of living in all three countries but I think there's a gap there.

We've been remiss in not trying to fill that gap with facts before the US President called on renegotiations of NAFTA.

Mr Stewart estimates hundreds of thousands of jobs are at stake in the US where they have been a huge beneficiary of NAFTA because they do so much processing of agricultural products imported from Canada and Mexico.

He says about 100 thousand jobs in Saskatchewan are supported by exports and, like Canada, Mexico exports a lot of raw products and a lot of jobs rely on exports for their very existence.

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