Thursday, February 22, 2018
Nation & World

In U.S. visit, Canada’s Justin Trudeau mixes job deals with defense of NAFTA

— Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came with an unambiguous message on his latest U.S. visit: the North American Free Trade Agreement is a success that needs to be modernized, not abandoned.

With the next round of talks over the trade pact set to begin in Mexico later this month, Trudeau used a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Friday to cast the deal as part of a long history between the two countries that has been beneficial for both.

Yet he also echoed frequent criticism from President Donald Trump, who has threatened to pull out of NAFTA, that too many workers are being left behind in the global economy.

"We need to collectively do a much better job of ensuring the benefits of trade are shared more broadly," Trudeau said.

The speech was a centerpiece on his swing in which he warned Canada won’t be muscled into a trade deal that is unfavorable to his country, while promoting Canada as a destination for California technology firms uneasy with shifting U.S. immigration policy.

After the speech, a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer who was part of Trudeau’s motorcade crashed and was sent to a hospital with moderate injuries, the Ventura County Fire Department said. The vehicle carrying the prime minister was not involved and he was not hurt.

Trudeau picked up promises of investments and jobs during his first official visit to San Francisco. Among them: Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announced the online business software company will invest another $2 billion in its Canadian operations.

He was scheduled to appear Saturday in Los Angeles, with Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Trump called the 24-year-old agreement a job-killing "disaster" on the campaign trail, and he has threatened to pull out unless the deal requires more auto production in the United States, while shifting additional government contracts to U.S. companies.

Trudeau argued that the deal has sent benefits both ways across the border.

He said 9 million jobs in America are tied to trade and investment with Canada and "the truth is that both Canada and the United States are winning. And so is Mexico. And that’s exactly how we should keep it."

But he added: "President Trump and I agree about this: Too many people have been left behind, even as our economies surged."

But an agreement, he warned, will take "a willingness to compromise on all sides."

The location of the speech carried symbolic weight, alluding to the longstanding trade relationship between the U.S. and Canada. In 1988, Reagan and then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney signed the first free trade agreement — a precursor to NAFTA.

In his speech, Trudeau made repeated references to the historic connections between the two countries and argued that backing away from NAFTA could unspool deep ties across the continent — with an unknown cost.

The liberal Trudeau argued that differing political views need not stand in the way of trade agreement, alluding to the Republican president.

Reaching agreements has always required "persistence and no shortage of sunny, Reagan-esque optimism on both sides," he said.

Uncertainty over Trump’s immigration policies has provided momentum for Trudeau’s economic pitch to Silicon Valley, where many companies that rely on foreign workers have become uneasy.

On his visit to Northern California, Trudeau promoted his country’s fast-track employment permit for certain workers, dubbed the "global skills strategy visa."

Trudeau also met Thursday with Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos as Bezos considers possible locations for a second headquarters. Toronto, which has created a government-sponsored innovation hub for tech companies, was the only one of several Canadian cities that made the shortlist.

Trudeau’s stop in San Francisco highlighted the already strong ties between Canada and California, particularly in research, academia and technology.

While much of the attention on the North American Free Trade Agreement has focused on physical commodities such as vehicle manufacturing, dairy and timber, skilled workers have also become increasingly mobile between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Google built its latest DeepMind artificial intelligence facility at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

Associated Press Writer Juliet Williams in San Francisco contributed.

Comments
Journals say European art scene began with Neanderthals

Journals say European art scene began with Neanderthals

NEW YORK — From the murky depths of Spanish caves comes a surprising insight: Neanderthals created art. That’s been proposed before, but experts say two new studies finally give convincing evidence that our evolutionary cousins had the brainpower to ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
University experts to lead Puerto Rico storm death review

University experts to lead Puerto Rico storm death review

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s governor announced Thursday that a team of experts at George Washington University will lead an independent, in-depth review to determine the number of deaths caused by Hurricane Maria amid accusations that the U...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Shelters open amid Midwest flooding as rivers keep rising

Shelters open amid Midwest flooding as rivers keep rising

ELKHART, Ind. — Shelters were open Thursday to help people forced from their homes by flooding in Indiana and Michigan, as rivers swollen by heavy rain and melting snow continue to rise in the Midwest. Flood warnings were in effect across a wide swat...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Florida eye doctor gets 17 years for Medicare fraud

Florida eye doctor gets 17 years for Medicare fraud

FORT LAUDERDALE — A prominent Florida eye doctor once accused of bribing Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey received a 17-year sentence Thursday for stealing $73 million from Medicare by persuading elderly patients to undergo excruciating tes...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Trump promotes arming teachers, but rejects active shooter drills

Trump promotes arming teachers, but rejects active shooter drills

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday intensified his calls for arming highly trained teachers as part of an effort to fortify schools against shooting massacres such as the one that occurred in Parkland last week, even as he denounced acti...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Trump casually threatens to pull ICE officers out of California to teach state a lesson

Trump casually threatens to pull ICE officers out of California to teach state a lesson

President Donald Trump on Thursday said that he has become so frustrated with California’s "lousy management job" in cracking down on illegal immigration that he’s thinking about removing federal immigration officials from the state."If we ever pulle...
Updated: 10 hours ago
No. 2 FBI official addresses criticism over fumbled tip on Nikolas Cruz

No. 2 FBI official addresses criticism over fumbled tip on Nikolas Cruz

WASHINGTON — The No. 2 FBI official said Thursday that he personally visited the FBI’s call center this week as part of a review of how it fumbled a tip on the teen accused of carrying out a massacre at a high school in Parkland as he addressed, in s...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Collards, ribs and Kool-Aid: Black History Month menu at NYU stirs controversy

Collards, ribs and Kool-Aid: Black History Month menu at NYU stirs controversy

NEW YORK — On Tuesday, a dining hall at New York University advertised a special meal in honor of Black History Month. On the menu? Barbecue ribs, cornbread, collard greens, and two beverages with racist connotations: Kool-Aid and watermelon-flavored...
Published: 02/22/18
Hospitals overwhelmed by bombing blitz of Damascus suburbs

Hospitals overwhelmed by bombing blitz of Damascus suburbs

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Doctors in Syria’s rebel-controlled suburbs of Damascus said Wednesday they were unable to keep up with the staggering number of casualties, amid a ferocious bombing campaign by government forces that has targeted hospitals, apartme...
Published: 02/21/18
Crews used boats to help residents amid Midwest flooding

Crews used boats to help residents amid Midwest flooding

ELKHART, Ind. — Crews used boats to help residents evacuate their homes in northern Indiana after rainstorms sweeping across the Midwest on Wednesday combined with melting snow to flood rivers, roads and other low-lying areas in several states. The s...
Published: 02/21/18