Canada, the United States and Mexico vowed to deepen their economic ties on Wednesday June 29, pushing back against anti-free-trade sentiment that has shifted political debate in the United States and Europe.
The three nations are members of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has vowed to renegotiate or scrap if he wins November’s election.
U.S. President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Enrique Peña Nieto, meeting at a “Three Amigos” summit in Ottawa, said an efficient North American economy was vital for creating good-paying, middle-class jobs.
“We will build upon this strong trilateral economic relationship, and further facilitate trade among our three countries, and improve the networks that allow us to produce products and services together,” they said in a statement.
Trump says free trade has been disastrous, costing thousands of U.S. jobs and depressing wages.
Similar complaints were heard in Britain ahead of a surprise referendum vote last week to leave the European Union and its free trade area.
Obama and Peña Nieto stressed the importance of the relationship between the United States and Mexico, which has come under strain amid heated U.S. campaign rhetoric, and Obama invited the Mexican leader for a last visit to Washington before Obama’s term ends in January.
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