Madam Speaker, as someone active on the trade file in the House, the member knows well that Canada, the U.S., and Mexico all benefit from NAFTA, thanks to the open and predictable rules-based trading environment that the agreement created 23 years ago.
In 2016, trilateral trade reached nearly $1 trillion U.S., more than a threefold increase since 1993. The combined GDP of the three countries has more than doubled, and Canada is the largest single-country export market for the U.S. and one of the three largest-country merchandise export markets for 48 U.S. states.
In 2016, the U.S. exported nearly $266 billion U.S. of merchandise to Canada, and nine million jobs in the U.S. depend on trade and investment with Canada. Overall, our trade is fair and balanced.
The elimination of tariffs and the creation of the rules set out in NAFTA have helped produce significant efficiencies in our supply chains in a number of industries, such as autos. It is this trade interdependence that supports millions of jobs across North America and strengthens trade and investment.
NAFTA has established a strong foundation that contributes to future economic growth and has set a valuable example of the benefits of trade liberalization. With nearly all tariffs on originating trade between the three member countries eliminated, the ultimate goal of NAFTA—to lower costs for producers and lower costs for consumers—is being achieved.
This government acknowledges how vital the softwood lumber industry is to Canadians right across this country as well. We have been working tirelessly toward a new agreement and will continue to do so. The Government of Canada wants a good deal, not just any deal, and we will vigorously defend Canadian softwood lumber interests through litigation if necessary.
Similarly, for the steel industry the government is making sure that the market operates in a fair environment with a strong trade remedy system and strong enforcement of measures at the border, as well as by working with all major steel-producing countries to tackle the problem of excess capacity and production found in some of these countries.
I thank the member for her question. She will know that if and when NAFTA negotiations begin, we will be ready and we will defend Canadian interests.