Saskatchewan

Canada should make 'list of things we could retaliate with' in NAFTA negotiations: Brad Wall

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says Canada should be ready to fight back if talks to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement next month don’t go well.

Premiers to talk NAFTA Tuesday at meeting in Edmonton

From left, New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, Robert Bertrand, National Chief, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball, take part in the meeting with National Indigenous Leaders during the premiers meeting in Edmonton Monday. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall reiterated his position Tuesday that Canada should be ready to fight back if talks to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement next month don't go well.

Wall is at the premiers' annual summer meetings in Edmonton this week.

"I think we should begin in a tactical and strategic way to populate a list — in a very quiet, calm, non-disclosed way — a list of things we could retaliate with if things go off the rails," Wall told reporters Monday.

"I think it would be wise to have that ready sooner rather than later," he said. "I don't think we'll need it."

He said lists have proven to be effective before, citing a meeting he had with a senator from Iowa earlier this year, who told him his position on country-of-origin labels changed after Canada's trade minister prepared a list of strategic retaliations.

On Monday, the United States Trade Representative released its negotiating objectives that include seeking to eliminate NAFTA's Chapter 19 dispute resolution panels, and exempting local and state governments from having to open up government contracts to Canadian and Mexican firms. Wall said the objective to eliminate Chapter 19 is concerning.

"Any trade agreement is only as good as its binding dispute mechanism," he said.

As long as the agreement is reopened, he said Canadian industry sectors should be consulted on what improvements they would like to see.

He added he felt the prime minister and cabinet were handling U.S.-Canada relations well given "some of the rhetoric" since the election and could expect the continuing support of the provinces in that area.

The premiers will get an update on trade Tuesday from David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the U.S.

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