A representative of the Canadian government on Friday warned Alabama jobs could be at risk if NAFTA negotiations are to disintegrate between the U.S. and Canada.
In May, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum from some of United State’s biggest trading partners – including Canada. In retaliation Canada has imposed new tariffs on a numerous amount of American goods, from steel and aluminum to whiskey and toilet paper.
The country has been the top export market for Alabama since at least 2014. With over $4.1 billion being exported to the country in 2017, and $4.2 billion in 2016; the trade relationship between the Yellowhammer State and Canada has created 111,200 jobs. According to the Alabama Newscenter in 2016 alone, 13 different Canadian firms provided new investments in the state totaling $145 million and creating nearly 530 jobs.
But Ashante Infantry, the Communications officer for the Canadian Consulate General in Atlanta warns that the relationship between the two entities could be at risk.
“The United States and Canada enjoy one of the closest relationships between any two countries in the world,” Infantry said, according to the Alabama Political Reporter. “Since 1994, The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has encouraged the trading of goods and services between the U.S. and Canada to promote economic vitality for both countries, but that future is uncertain. If current NAFTA negotiations break down, American jobs could be at risk, and the prices for items such as groceries to cars would likely rise.”
“Because of NAFTA, Alabama has seen new businesses form, new job openings posted, and a more vibrant economy,” Infantry continued. “We must ensure that NAFTA is modernized for the future—so that its benefits are more widely shared, and, importantly, so that Alabama’s economy continues to prosper.”