By Brennan Sullivan
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be traveling to the U.S. in early February for a three stop tour that will stop in Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Prime Minister’s trip is aimed at strengthening the bond between Canada and the United States, specifically through their closely connected economic ties.
A suspected reason for the tour arises from discouraging news being reported in recent weeks on the ongoing NAFTA negotiations. President Trump’s “America First” position in economic and foreign policy has left NAFTA vulnerable in the wake of 2018.
Businesses in the United States, Canada and Mexico who have benefited from the 23-year-old agreement, are fearful that its fate is the same as the Trans-Pacific Partnership – the U.S. trade agreement rescinded by President Trump on his first day in office.
A former deputy U.S. trade representative under former President Obama, Robert Holleyman, was quoted by Bloomberg newsite saying, “People have to be planning for what they do in a worst-case scenario.”
Trudeau will be speaking with prominent U.S. policy pundits and connecting with local business leaders to discover how both nations can help each other further improve.
The University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics will be hosting the world leader for a discussion, led by the institute’s founder and former advisor to President Obama, David Axelrod. Joe Liberman, an economics major at the University of Chicago, is hopeful that he will be able to land tickets to the event. “Anytime a world leader, especially such an active one, comes here it’s really exciting,” said Liberman. “It’s a once-in-a-four-year opportunity.”
Roosevelt professor of international relations, Bethany Barratt, will not be attending the event, however, she is excited by the effort made by Prime Minister Trudeau to maintain an “amicable” relationship with the United States.
“One of the concerns I have with an ‘America first’ policy is that we tend to ignore the interdependence we have with other countries, especially our two closest neighbors,” said Barratt. She said the United States has benefited greatly from not having to worry about securing its borders against unfriendly nations who might pose a possible threat.
Barratt said the Trudeau’s tour would be beneficial for improving the relationship between the U.S. and Canada. “Yes… It’s good to remind the country of how important cooperation is, not just with Canada, but the world generally,” said Barratt.
Trudeau last visited the United States in October of 2017, when he was invited to the White House to discuss NAFTA and how to secure its continuity.