The United States
In the United Stares, President Ronald Reagan was the lead supporter of the FTA. Reagan’s main argument was that the FTA would help both economies and solidify positive bilateral relations. At a state dinner with Mulroney, Reagan claimed that the FTA “would create unparalleled prosperity for our citizens.” Reagan believed the FTA was a “balanced agreement that provides open trade and investment on a comprehensive basis, an agreement in which both sides are winners.” Reagan claimed “spurring US-Canadian trade and investment will improve our economies and strengthen our competitive ability in world markets.” Reagan told Canadians worried about sovereignty to examine the European Economic Union where each nation retained its own identity and assured Canadians that its “national character that will not only survive but flourish in an environment of free trade.” He argued “Canadian and American tariffs will be phased out completely, saving consumers hundreds of millions of dollars while also improving our export opportunities.” He told Americans that to would lead to “thousands of new jobs, billions in increased investment, and expanding opportunities.”
Reagan also hoped the agreement would spur further free trade across the world, which in turn would help resist communism. He noted that the FTA would form the “largest free trade area in the world, benefiting not only our two countries but setting an example of cooperation to all nations that now wrestle against the siren temptation of protectionism.” He argued Canada and the United States “will overcome the impulse of economic isolationism with a brotherly embrace, an embrace, it is not too much to hope, that may someday extend throughout the Americas and ultimately encompass all free nations.” In addition, Reagan stated that the FTA would improve American security by ensuring safe, reliable access to energy.
Reagan had particularly harsh words for critics of the deal in Congress. Reagan claimed that opposition to the agreement was from “small groups that have a special interest in keeping things the way they are—even at the expense of keeping everybody else from moving forward.” He asserted politicians against free trade were being disingenuous “demagogues who are ready to declare a trade war against our friends—weakening our economy, our national security, and the entire free world—all while cynically waving the American flag.” Reagan proclaimed that “every American has a role and stake in international trade… considering we export 20 percent of industrial production.” Reagan responded to domestic pressure to abandon the deal and the notion that tariffs help protect American jobs by warning:
First, homegrown industries start relying on government protection in the form of high tariffs. They stop competing and stop making the innovative management and technological changes they need to succeed in world markets. And then, high tariffs...