OTTAWA (Reuters) -A win for Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election this November would mean a certain amount of unpredictability for Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.
Trudeau, whose center-left Liberals came to power in November 2015, had rocky relations with Trump during his first four-year White House term. In 2018, Trump accused Trudeau of being weak and dishonest.
"We don't know exactly what he'll do ... obviously, Mr. Trump represents a certain amount of unpredictability," Trudeau told reporters during a cabinet retreat in Montreal.
Canada sends 75% of its goods and services exports to the United States and is particularly vulnerable to any U.S. shift toward protectionism.
Trudeau said his Liberal government had managed to meet the challenges posed by the first Trump administration. These included the U.S. placing tariffs on Canadian steel and Washington's demand for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which also includes Mexico.
During the NAFTA renegotiation, Canada sent dozens of cabinet ministers and top officials to a number of key U.S. states to stress the value of continental free trade and Trudeau said Ottawa would take the same approach this time.
"We were able to manage Mr. Trump by defending Canadian interests and showing we can create economic growth on both sides of the border," said Trudeau.
Kirsten Hillman, Canada's ambassador to Washington, is due to address cabinet ministers on Tuesday.
About two-thirds of Canadians surveyed this month said U.S. democracy cannot survive another four years of Trump in power, according to a poll released last week.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Nick Macfie)