Canada, U.S. economies to remain united: Canadian minister

Canada's International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

OTTAWA (Reuters) - There is no question of separating the Canadian and U.S. economies, Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Thursday when asked about the potential impact of a Donald Trump presidency.

Trump, who will formally become President on Jan. 20, has vowed to either scrap or renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, under which Canada sends 75 percent of its exports to the United States.

Trump has recently attacked auto manufacturers which plan to expand capacity in Mexico, promising to impose taxes unless they shift production to the United States. The Canadian and U.S. auto industries are highly integrated and Canada’s economy could suffer badly if Trump took aim at plants north of the border.

“With respect to relations between Canada and the United States, I think it’s very important to understand that this is a very balanced relationship,” Freeland told a televised news conference in Montreal when asked whether U.S. investors might be less keen on Canada under Trump.

“Both the Canadian and U.S. economies have a very close relationship. There is no question of separating those two economies,” she said.

Amid fears of a protectionist Trump administration, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reached out in a video address to the new U.S. Congress on Tuesday to stress the two nations’ tight economic links.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Chris Reese and Andrew Hay