A new poll released by the Pew Research Center says American’s view of the North American Free Trade Agreement is more negative than other NAFTA partner countries.
The research shows that about half of U.S. citizens say the trade agreement is good for the U.S., while 76 percent of Canadians say the agreement is good for Canada. Meanwhile, 60 percent of Mexicans call the agreement good for Mexico.
The research indicates that the differences in views may in part reflect the fact that both Canada and Mexico run merchandise trade surpluses with the U.S. In 2016, the U.S. ran a collective $74 billion trade goods deficit with its two NAFTA partners. Political partisanship is linked to views of NAFTA, most notably in the U.S.
About two-thirds, 68 percent, of Democrats see NAFTA as good for the U.S., while only 30 percent of Republicans hold the same view. However, public support for NAFTA is somewhat higher today than it was in 2005, the last time Pew Research Center and Gallup regularly polled about the agreement.
Canada is exploring retaliatory options after the Donald Trump administration announced tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber last month. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is exploring ways to push back against the United States, although what options Canada is considering remain unclear. A trade official from Canada called the move normal, according to Politico.
The remarks came after Trudeau over the weekend said he is considering “carefully and seriously” a request from British Columbia Premier Christy Clark to ban U.S. shipments of thermal coal through Canadian West Coast ports. The U.S. softwood tariff was an indirect response to a change in dairy policy that impacted U.S. dairy exports to Canada.