Dallas and Fort Worth Mayors See Hope, Anxiety Over NAFTA in Trip to Toronto

TORONTO — In any other year, a trip to Canada by the mayors Dallas and Fort Worth might have seemed like just another chance for good trade partners to network and hobnob.But now, in the age of Donald Trump, a wave of nationalism and protectionist sentiment has made the North Texas delegation's trek rather conspicuous.The 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, between the U.S., Mexico and Canada is set to be renegotiated later this year. Outwardly, Canadian officials played it cool Monday. But after several private meetings in Toronto, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings senses some anxiety there.In fact, Rawlings said Canadian officials seemed excited that they shared views on trade with him and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price."They're thrilled we're so pro-trade," Rawlings said. "They're looking for friendly voices across the border."Officials from the region and Canada have good reason to be friendly. The Greater Toronto area is the No. 1 trade partner of Dallas-Fort Worth with more than $1.6 billion in trade annually, according to the Brookings Institution. Montreal, where the North Texas delegation will spend most of the week, ranked No. 3 in trade for the region, trailing No. 2 Mexico City.North Texas business leaders also see more opportunity for growth in Canada. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport has added Air Canada flights. D/FW CEO Sean Donohue said cargo shipping that goes through the airport is important to the region. Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty CEO Robbie Briggs, who lives in Dallas and is part of the delegation, said he works with Canadian developers and will be looking for more opportunities there.  Continue reading...

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