Ontario calls on U.S. border states to defend NAFTA, economic minister says

Ontario's Minister of Economic Development and Growth is trying to get ahead of industry fears as the new U.S. president considers renegotiating NAFTA. Brad Duguid tells CBC it's in the U.S.'s interest to retain our strong trade relationship.

How? 'Make fact based decisions' says CEO of Guelph's Linamar

Union officials at the General Motors' CAMI Automotive facility in Ingersoll, Ont. say General Motors is cutting 625 jobs and shifting work to Mexico. The automotive industry forms a large part of the North American Free Trade agreement. (Dave Chidley/Associated Press)

Tariffs, border taxes, rules of origin and exactly what they mean for the economy of Canada and Ontario are being carefully watched as U.S. President Donald Trump and his team look at renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Brad Duguid, Ontario's Minister of Economic Development and Growth told CBC Kitchner-Waterloo's The Morning Edition with Craig Norris the province knows there's going to be a renegotiation of NAFTA and they're discussing the ways the deal can be improved for the province.

Ontario is the number one destination for exports from 20 American states and the number two destination for seven more. For the auto sector alone that adds up to exports of $59 billion to Ontario.

"Michigan is a significant trading partner," said Duguid. " [We're] looking to the governors in the Great Lake states and the political representatives in those states, to be our chief spokespeople for the administration to ensure the administration is aware of how important that unfettered border is to millions of American jobs."

Take emotion out of discussion

The CEO of auto parts supplier Linamar Corporation in Guelph, Linda Hasenfratz, told the CBC show On the Money, it's important to take a lot of the emotion out of the discussion.

"The new U.S administration wants jobs and prosperity," said Hasenfratz. "If it's clear that prosperity will be negatively impacted by some of these changes then that should be very clear so that we can make good fact-based decisions."

Duguid added he is hearing reassuring information about the importance of trade between Canada and the U.S.

Listen to the full interview on CBC Radio with Brad Duguid here: