Canada could lose out to Mexico: Charest (May 24, 2001)
CALGARY, Alta. — Canada is in jeopardy of losing its status as the United States’ number one trading partner, warns Quebec Liberal leader Jean Charest.
Speaking to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Charest hinted that Mexico is poised to become the preferred trading partner of the U.S. — and the consequences could be devastating to the Canadian economy.
“In seven to eight years from now, Mexico will become the number one trading partner with the United States,” Charest said at a breakfast speech yesterday. “We will lose that position. Mexico will move up in the ranks and then you can predict that Brazil will follow soon.”
Charest’s comments were part of an effort to rally provincial leaders to pressure the federal government for more provincial control over how taxes are spent.
“Provincial governments are the front-line players and should be at the table,” says Charest. “The premiers now have to look at a new agenda — it falls upon them.”
Charest cites the population difference between Canada and Mexico as one reason for concern. Mexico is home to 80 million people, while Canada’s population is in the 30 million range.
“They have a big domestic market — maybe not rich today but getting richer and richer and at a faster rate,” warns Charest.
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