President Donald Trump has repeatedly slammed the North American Free Trade Agreement, but he signaled Monday that one of the United States' partners in the deal could face more drastic changes than the other.
After Trump met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House, the leaders touted the neighbors' trade relationship, with Trudeau signaling they wanted to continue "effective integration of our two economies." Trump has repeatedly slammed NAFTA as a drag on American jobs, but said he thinks the U.S. gets a worse deal from its southern neighbor Mexico than from Canada.
"We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada. We'll be tweaking it. We'll be doing certain things that are going to benefit both of our countries. It's a much less severe situation than what's taken place on the southern border," Trump said at a joint White House press conference with Trudeau.
Trump has called for a renegotiation of NAFTA, the deal implemented in 1994 that helped to make Canada and Mexico two of America's crucial trading partners, saying it has harmed American workers. After his meeting with Trump, Trudeau stressed the magnitude of the U.S. and Canada economic relationship, saying the countries "ventured into groundbreaking economic partnerships that have created good jobs for both of our peoples."
Canada sends about 75 percent of its exports to the U.S. Canada was also the largest goods-export market for the U.S. in 2015, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
"We will be talking about how we can continue to create good jobs for our citizens on both sides of the border," Trudeau said.
Trump has taken a largely more conciliatory tone with Canada than he has with Mexico so far. During the news conference, he noted that he will try to seek a "fair deal" from Mexico.
Trump has criticized American companies for moving production and jobs to Mexico, threatening taxes on goods they make south of the border and sell in the U.S.
The leaders did not outline specific changes that could happen to their trade relationship, but Trump said they will be "doing some cross-border things that will make it a lot easier for trade," which will be implemented "fairly quickly." In the news conference, they did not address a possible tax on goods coming in from Canada, an idea the White House has floated for Mexico.
Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau told CNBC after the meeting that the countries "don't have a specific set of next steps." He added that they "didn't talk specifically" about a border tax.
Aside from trade, Trump and Trudeau said they addressed efforts to boost women's entrepreneurship, announcing the United States-Canada Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. They met with women business leaders earlier Monday.
They said they also discussed terrorism and immigration during the meeting. Trudeau, a member of Canada's Liberal Party, clashes with Trump on many policy issues, and the Canadian leader made an appeal to refugees last month after Trump signed his divisive executive order restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Still, Trudeau said Monday that he would not "lecture another country on how they choose to govern themselves." He added that he wants to "continue to govern in a way that reflects Canadians' approach and be a positive influence in the world."