The University of Calgary policy expert is concerned about growing anti-free trade rhetoric around the world, particularly from US Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Not only is Trump threatening new protectionist measures, he’s also said he’d be willing to walk away from existing free trade pacts.
However, Policy analyst Jean-Sebastien Rioux tells the Alberta Morning News even if Trump is elected, he can’t just sweep away a deal like the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“It would be quite difficult for the President to unilaterally scrap a 25-year-old trade deal like that. The data clearly shows that the Canadian economy grew faster since NAFTA, so it’s definitely something Canadians should be concerned about.” Rioux says. “I privately hope he’s not the President.”
However, Rioux says Trump could abandon the still-unratified Trans Pacific Partnership, and that could lead to repercussions here.
Rioux tells the Alberta Morning News the big prize that came with the TPP was Japan, and it’s a market Alberta needs right now.
“We’ve been hurting for the last two years due to the drop in oil price,” he says, “and one of the things that might improve the long-term prospects for western Canada’s economy is exporting more food, and agricultural products, forestry products, and so forth. And Japan is a market that was notoriously hard to crack.”
And the TPP isn’t the only trade deal that could disintegrate: Rioux adds that if the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement with Europe scuttles, it could affect investment, and mobility for Canadian workers in Europe. (ms, Alberta Morning News)