Canada and Mexico reached out to each other while preparing similar public messages last week about working with Donald Trump before the two American neighbours both declared themselves willing to talk with the U.S. about NAFTA.
Two federal sources say the two governments spoke by phone prior to Canada’s public comments about NAFTA the day after the U.S. election — comments that were followed by a similar statement later in the week from Mexico.
The leaders of the two countries also chatted — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto spoke later in the week after their governments had discussed their intentions on trade.
“I had a nice conversation a number of days ago with President Pena Nieto,” Trudeau confirmed during a news conference Wednesday. “Our citizens expect us to work constructively together to advance our interests and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
“I don’t think anyone was surprised,” one Canadian official said of the announcement last Wednesday.
Every trade deal can be improved, so if the next president wants to discuss reopening NAFTA, Canada is ready to come to the table, David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., told a briefing the day after the vote.
He even suggested a possible improvement: adding softwood lumber to the agreement, so that the countries don’t continue re-litigating the issue every few years.
Softwood is one of several issues a Trump administration would want to adjust in the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to a purported transition memo obtained by CNN.
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