February 13, 2017 / 3:02 PM / 2 years ago

Canadian support of NAFTA grows with Trump vowing renegotiation: poll

U.S. President Donald Trump holds his earpiece during a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (not pictured) at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadians have become more supportive of the North American Free Trade Agreement after the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has promised to renegotiate the pact, a poll from the Angus Reid Institute showed on Monday.

Forty-four percent of those surveyed said NAFTA had benefited Canada, up from 25 percent from a poll last June. The percentage who wanted to see a renegotiation of the agreement, which removed trade barriers between Canada, the United States and Mexico, fell to 24 percent from 34 percent.

Just 13 percent said NAFTA had hurt Canada, down from the previous 26 percent. The poll was conducted earlier this month as an online survey of 1,508 Canadians.

“What a difference eight months and a new U.S. president make,” Angus Reid said. “Today, with NAFTA under threat, Canadians have radically changed the way they feel about the deal in a relatively short period of time.”

The poll comes as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to meet Trump in Washington later on Monday and is expected to look to nurture economic ties between the two countries.

Trump’s plan to reopen NAFTA has cast uncertainty over the economic future of Canada, which sends 75 percent of its exports to the United States.

The poll found 56 percent of Canadians expected NAFTA to be renegotiated, but just 10 percent thought their country would emerge from the talks better off than it is now.

Still, Canadians have not always supported the deal. When NAFTA was being negotiated in 1993, 58 percent of Canadians told Angus Reid they opposed it.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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