Canadian trade experts -- and one government official -- seem quite open to renegotiating NAFTA, possibly replacing it with a bilateral trade deal with the United States.
Canada's ambassador in Washington last week said that while Canada believes the deal has benefited the U.S., Mexico and Canada, "everything can be improved," the Canadian Press reported. "We're ready to come to the table," David MacNaughton said on a conference call Wednesday, Nov. 9.
Jerry Dias, head of Unifor, the Canadian autoworkers union, said the Canadian industry has lost 50,000 direct auto jobs since 2000 due to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
"They're not closing anything in Mexico. Renegotiating NAFTA would be quite helpful," Dias said.
But he added that dumping NAFTA would be extremely complicated: "The reality is anyone who thinks they can just blow up the auto industry like that, it's just not that easy. It's the most integrated industry in the world. You have assemblers with operations that feed all three countries. It's just not that easy."
Avery Shenfeld and Royce Mendes, economists at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, say a bilateral trade deal could reverse job losses.
"Mr. Trump's concerns about globalization are mostly focused on low-cost producers like China and Mexico, but tearing up NAFTA would leave Canada in a vulnerable position," the economists wrote. "Canada and the U.S. could revert to a bilateral free trade arrangement that excludes Mexico."
Ian Lee, associate professor at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University in Ottawa, raised the possibility of reverting to the U.S.-Canada free trade deal signed in 1988, which was superseded by NAFTA in 1994.