By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) has called on Durham and other local governments to officially support Canada in its attempts to reach a new free trade agreement with the U.S. and Mexico.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a free trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico, and with it, taxes are removed from products that are traded between the three countries, and it also protects copyrights, trademarks and patents between the countries.
President George H.W. Bush, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexico’s Salina de Gortari originally signed NAFTA in 1992, and officially came into effect in 1994.
In an attempt to “modernize” the deal, negotiations surrounding NAFTA began in August of 2017, but have been at a standstill.
With Trump calling the deal “the worst trade deal ever,” he was quick to begin negotiating a new deal between the three countries.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has insisted from the beginning that he will not sign an “unfavourable [NAFTA] deal.”
AMO wishes to make it clear that the needs of Ontario should be a priority due to the fact that approximately 80 per cent of the province’s exports go to the United States.
According to AMO, Ontario is also the largest trader with approximately half of all American states.
“Canada’s and Ontario’s economic future and the continued well-being of communities and their local economies depend on free and fair trading relationships based in current future trade agreements,” reads the report provided to council.
According to the report, even minor changes to the current NAFTA deal can have drastic effects on the Canadian and American economies, and it could greatly affect the lives of “workers, consumers and governments on both sides of the border.”
“Ontario municipal governments, represented by the [AMO], stand together with the Federal and Ontario governments in their efforts to protect Canadian jobs and local economies,” the report reads.
AMO has resolved that it will work with the federal government in order to ensure that municipalities around Ontario that are affected by any potential new NAFTA deal are being supported and have their needs represented.
AMO is also set to work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to ensure that Canada has a full understanding of the impacts that trade negotiations such as the pending NAFTA deal can have on municipalities.