Trudeau and Trump pledge to assist female entrepreneurs
Published Monday, February 13, 2017 7:53PM EST
The first visit between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump was closely scrutinized by professors, ministers, and economists.
From the sparring handshakes, the awkward photo ops, and the business behind closed doors, the impact of this meeting is expected to have ramifications in Montreal.
And for those who regularly engage in political negotiations, the meeting seemed to be cordial.
Quebec's finance minister Carlos Leitao is well aware that the U.S. is Canada's largest trading partner.
"The level of interdependence between the two economies is very high," said Leitao.
He hopes that discussions about possibly renegotiating NAFTA start with the realization that both countries benefit from free trade.
"The links between the two economies, which are very important, will be re-asserted. That both sides understand that is to our mutual benefit that we maintain a free flow of trade across the border," said Leitao.
For the Business Development Bank of Canada, trade is of prime importance, and any alterations to NAFTA should be made very carefully.
"Seventy percent of our exports are to the United States, so when the economy is doing better in the United States our exports are increasing," said Pierre Cleroux.
"If they change the trade agreement we will be affected one way or another."
Concordia politics and U.S. policy professor Graham Dodds said it's normal for U.S. and Canadian leaders to have different ideologies, but historically, differences are worked out.
"We're hearing from the NDP that he should stand up to the U.S., stand up to Trump, say these are not Canadian values, we will take in the people you won't want. And others saying no that's not very smart, you probably want to lie low and not antagonize someone who once he doesn't like you, really doesn't like you," said Dodd.
He said both leaders need to be clear about what they intend.
"Some basic reassurance that the longstanding relationship between the two countries is going to go forward much as it always has," said Dodds.
Coming out of their meeting, both leaders said they will work on eliminating obstacles to having women in the workforce.
Their joint communiqué did not mention NAFTA or trade.
Instead Trudeau and Trump announced the creation of the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders, a bi-country initiative to help female entrepreneurs.