Canada should be “worried” about being outmaneuvered at the bargaining table during upcoming North American Free Trade talks with the U.S., auto industry veteran and former Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda tells BNN in an interview.

Canada needs “professional” negotiators at the NAFTA talks who think like business leaders – and not government bureaucrats, says LaSorda.  “Look at the lineup that they have in the U.S. coming across the border to meet. You’ve got billionaires who’ve run companies [and] they know what it’s like,” he says. 

Canada can only lead if the country is tied to the U.S. and gets bold on demands for cross trade, says LaSorda.

“[Canada] must pursue free trade deals that guarantee fair trade and jobs at home. And they have to impose duties for imports that don't create manufacturing jobs in the country. Finally, take care of those who carry the current workload of creating and maintaining jobs,” he says.

There is a significant amount at stake in the upcoming talks. According to a report from the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association of Canada (APMA), Canadian companies employ approximately 86,000 people in factories located both in the U.S. and Mexico. That’s more than the total number of people employed in the auto-parts sector right here at home. U.S. President Donald Trump railed against NAFTA during the Presidential election campaign, often describing the deal as one of the worst trade deals ever signed.