Thank you for that important question, Mr. Baylis.
Again, I would like to publicly thank Steve Verheul and the entire Canadian negotiating team. Our negotiators are really the best in the world. I think I can tell you what one of the negotiators working with Mr. Verheul told me during the negotiations. He said,
You know, we're like the navy seals of Canada.
It was in Washington, after a very long day. All Canadians should be proud of the professionalism and patriotism shown by our negotiators. It is a privilege and an honour to work with Mr. Verheul and his team.
With respect to the new NAFTA, I would like to highlight two points that are important to Canadians. Our priority has always been to maintain access to the American market. We have access to it right now because we have NAFTA. This agreement is now in effect and offers us very significant economic opportunities. As everyone knows, this access was threatened. Indeed, the Americans wanted to hold new negotiations and modernize the agreement. However, we have been able to negotiate a new agreement that will allow us to maintain our access to the American market, which is so important to us.
As I said in my remarks, the following two elements were very important to us during the negotiations. We wanted to maintain chapter 19, which is very important for all Canadian industries, perhaps especially for the softwood lumber industry. We also wanted to maintain the cultural exception, which is also very important for all Canadians.