Let's get going on NAFTA renegotiation, says Marc Garneau

The chair of Canada/US cabinet committee, Transport Minister Marc Garneau, says uncertainty over the future of NAFTA is hurting business on both sides of the border.

Chair of Canada/US cabinet committee says uncertainty is hurting business on both sides of the border

Transport Minister Marc Garneau says NAFTA renegotiations need to start soon. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press)

The chair of the cabinet committee on Canada/U.S. relations says the sooner things get going on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement the better.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the uncertainty caused by U.S. President Donald Trump's anti–NAFTA rhetoric is hurting business on both sides of the border

"I hope we will get this under way fairly quickly, because in the United States and in Canada those who are interested in trading and investing are living with a certain amount of uncertainty," Garneau told CBC Radio's The House.

​"The sooner we can discuss the specifics, the better."

Garneau made the comments following Donald Trump's switch to an aggressive tone towards Canada when it comes to trade.

Two days after openly criticizing Canada's dairy industry during a speech in Wisconsin, Trump doubled down, and added more sectors to his list.

"I wasn't going to do this," Trump said from the Oval Office. "I was in Wisconsin the other day, and I want to end, and add, by saying that Canada, what they've done to our dairy farm workers is a disgrace. It's a disgrace."

Dairy, lumber, timber and energy... Donald Trump took straight aim at Canada, not once but twice this week. We talk to the chair of the cabinet committee on Canada-U.S relations, Transport Minister Marc Garneau. 8:54

"We can't let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers. And again I want to also just mention: included in there is lumber, timber and energy," he went on to say.

Garneau told The House he has no idea what the president meant by those remarks.

"We need to wait for the details on this," Garneau said. 

Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland issued a statement following Trump's criticism saying that the federal government supports "rules-based" trade and will continue to defend Canada's interests. 

President Donald Trump openly criticized Canada's trade practices on two occasions this week. (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)