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Trudeau says Canada to work with China on eventual free trade deal despite NAFTA clause

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This is despite the country being a signatory to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which specifies that if one of its partners enters a free trade deal with a “non-market” country such as China, the others can quit in six months and form their own bilateral trade pact.

“This clause doesn’t prevent us from doing what we’re already doing which is indeed continuing to negotiate with China on an eventual free trade deal,” Trudeau said in a town hall with students at the National University of Singapore.

The clause, which has stirred controversy in Canada, fits in with U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to isolate China economically and prevent Chinese companies from using Canada or Mexico as a “back door” to ship products tariff-free to the United States.

“There is an element of transparency. We have to keep our partners informed on how we’re doing,” Trudeau added.

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