Talks between Canadian, American and Mexican officials begin Wednesday to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
It’s a long-held promise by President Donald Trump who stated renegotiation between the three countries was necessary.
It is still unclear how any talks will affect Saskatchewan, but John Hopkins, the CEO of the Regina Chamber of Commerce says these talks are important — not just for Regina, but for the entire province.
“We have a steel mill here in Evraz,” Hopkins said. “We have the refineries and potash. As well as all of the agricultural – canola being one the crops that’s very important in talks between Canada and the United States.”
Hopkins says in anticipation of these talks, the Regina Chamber has been meeting with other groups for quite some time now.
“We certainly have had discussions with the Quad City Chamber of Commerce,” Hopkins said. “They happen to be the home of John Deere. Pretty important trade between Saskatchewan and the United States in terms of machinery.”
Hopkins says Canada has good negotiators for the trade talks and is confident all of the country will be well represented.
“I think Saskatchewan’s voice will be heard,” Hopkins said. “I don’t anticipate this time there’s going to be trade-offs between one side of the country and the other. But you never know until we actually see what’s going to happen at the negotiating table.”
Representatives from every line of work are weighing in their opinions on the negotiations including APAS President Todd Lewis.
Lewis says he and many others in the agricultural sector have been in talks with their U.S and Mexican counterparts when it comes to NAFTA.
“The Canadian Federation of Agriculture,” Lewis said. “The Vice President is Norm Hall from Saskatchewan. He’s been involved in talks with counterparts and farm leaders from the States.”
NAFTA negotiations will have a huge impact on Saskatchewan, and Lewis says tweaking the agreement instead of a complete re-do would be best.
(with files from Drew Postey)