Last week, Canada’s Minister of International Trade made an official visit to Detroit to meet with auto industry officials and other business leaders.
Francois-Philippe Champagne sat down with Stateside to discuss the future of trade relations between the U.S. and Canada and the impact that relationship has on Michigan.
In a press release regarding Champagne's visit to Detroit, the Canadian Consulate’s office stated: “The US-Canada trade relationship has long been a model for the world: it is growing, it is balanced, it is fair and it supports growth, innovation and well-paying jobs in both countries.”
This statement comes just weeks after President Trump announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and posted tweets calling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weak and dishonest.
When asked if these recent actions changed Champagne's views on the two countries' trade relationship, he responded that Canadians will continue to do diplomacy the Canadian way.
According to Champagne, Detroit is a prime example of just how connected the American and Canadian economies are.
“Sixty-five percent of everything that is exported from Michigan is exported to Canada, and about 260,000 jobs depend on trade between our two countries. I think there is no other place in the world where you can see how much we are linked. And the reality is we just don't sell to each other, we make things together.”
Champagne believes the two countries need to be working closely together to modernize the North America Free Trade Agreement and strengthen the North American economy.
“Nine million middle-class jobs in the United States depend on trade with Canada,” Champagne said. “So for us, we think that Canada has never been the problem, we're part of the solution. We’re at the table, we’re constructive, and we think the best way to maintain the jobs on both sides of the border is to work together, be competitive, and realize that the elephant in the room is certainly not Canada. It's how we're going to structure ourselves to compete around the world.”
Listen above to hear more on the Canadian reaction to Trump’s steal and aluminum tariffs and how they could affect Detroit’s auto industry.
This post was written by Stateside production assistant Sophie Sherry.