BUENOS AIRES – Argentine President Mauricio Macri and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday defended the importance of “a responsible focus” in trade exchanges to benefit the middle class rather than falling back on the protectionism promoted by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
Trudeau said at a press conference after the meeting that he and Macri, and other heads of state and government, are going to continue promoting trade because that is how the middle class, along with small and medium businesses, can grow economically.
“It is an indisputable fact that trade is good for economic growth and can and should be good for all citizens,” Trudeau said.
“The challenge we’re facing right now is to demonstrate that we can create trade deals that give benefits to small and medium-sized enterprises, that give benefits to the middle class and to the communities they call home. That’s exactly where Mauricio and I agree entirely,” he added.
Meanwhile, Macri said that the future is in “greater integration and exchange,” and although he acknowledged that the U.S. election “showed an opposite trend,” he reiterated that the future lies in “believing” that countries can enrich themselves “internally and externally” from trade and diversity.
The two leaders made their remarks after being questioned about the barriers to free trade being pushed by Trump.
Trudeau said that there is a real worldwide concern about trade agreements, globalization and economic growth because people believe that such growth is not helping the middle class or making the future a better one for their children.
He argued that it’s necessary to understand that such anxieties can lead to “nationalism and populism” in some places.
But he said that by addressing those concerns in a positive and “responsible” way nations and governments can create economic opportunities for all citizens
Macri said that the two men also had agreed to push for talks between Mercosur and Canada, as well as bilateral discussions.
He also drew parallels between the two countries, saying that they both have a modest populations living in large territories, as well as being states that have a tradition of accepting immigrants and being open to the world, and both are responsible for arctic regions, including innovation and research.
And, he said, Canada and Argentina have enjoyed a friendship extending back many years.