US election: Canada fears climate, trade difficulties after Trump victory

  • 10/11/2016
Justin Trudeau (Getty)
Justin Trudeau (Getty)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he's looking forward to working with Donald Trump after the New York businessman won the US presidency in a victory that could hurt Canada's exporters and wreck plans to impose a national carbon price.

The left-leaning Mr Trudeau, who supports free trade and higher immigration, is ideologically removed from the Republican US president-elect.

In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Trudeau said he would work with the new administration on trade, investment, international peace and security.

Mr Trump had vowed on the campaign trail to revise or tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) under which Canada sends 75 percent of its exports to the United States.

Ottawa had assumed Democrat Hillary Clinton would win Tuesday's election and played down the need for a game plan for a Trump victory.

Officials now have to quickly work out how Canada's export-reliant economy can maintain its privileged access to the US market.

In early September, the Canadian ambassador to Washington said he had already had many meetings with Ms Clinton aides compared to a single session with a top Mr Trump ally.

A source with knowledge of the matter said Mr Trudeau would raise the importance of bilateral trade in his first call to Mr Trump.

Separately, Roland Paris, who served as Mr Trudeau's foreign policy advisor until late June, said the Prime Minister should quickly make the case for close economic ties and the importance of the current relationship.

"He needs to be thinking about mobilising allies at all levels of the US political system," he said.

A November study by Export Development Canada said exports to the United States could drop between 1.2 percent to 4.5 percent, depending on how radical an approach Mr Trump took.

The Trump win also could imperil Mr Trudeau's plan to impose a carbon price as part of a commitment to meet international climate change goals.

Mr Trump says global warming is a hoax and if he dilutes America's commitment to combating greenhouse gases, it could make Canadian businesses less competitive.

Unlike some world leaders who slammed Mr Trump ahead of the election, Mr Trudeau avoided comment. Canadian officials abroad were instructed not to discuss their preferences, even unofficially, said a second source with knowledge of the matter.