The organization which champions Saskatchewan exports around the world is cautiously optimistic a new NAFTA deal will soon come to fruition.
The Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP) helps exporters and businesses within the province reach global networks, including the United States.
Chris Dekker, president and CEO of STEP, is glad to see the Canadian government back at the negotiating table.
“There was great concern when there was bilateral negotiations underway between the United States and Mexico and Canada was not at the table,” Dekker said.
Dekker said getting a deal done with the U.S. is important for Saskatchewan exporters because they are the number one trading partner for the province — about 52-55 per cent of what is produced in this province is exported into the states.
Some of the main exports from the province include potash, agricultural products, steel, uranium and oil.
However, Dekker said Saskatchewan is very market-diversified whereas other provinces ship up to 80 per cent of their good to the states.
Dekker said he’s never seen negotiations as unique as the current NAFTA ones have been.
“The negotiations between any two countries, whether it’s bilateral or trilateral, are typically done at the negotiating table and certainly not through the media or with any particular bombast quite frankly.”
He said the organization is hopeful the Canadian government keeps its “eye on the prize” which is access into the U.S. market with no tariffs.
One of the biggest concerns for is a clause that would cause the deal to be reviewed in a short period of time.
“Governments and businesses can’t rely on that agreement in order to make long-term investment decisions.”
He is hoping an agreement will be reached within the next few weeks.
An Oct. 1 deadline is currently in place.