In The Media

Canada to face U.S. trade problems even if NAFTA is signed – Ottawa

by David Ljunggren (feat. CGAI State of Trade Conference)

Reuters
February 13, 2018

OTTAWA, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Trade challenges from U.S. firms will continue to cause turbulence for Canada even if talks to modernize NAFTA are successful, a senior Canadian government official said on Tuesday.

Canada sends 75 percent of its goods exports to the United States and is vulnerable to what Ottawa complains is increasing U.S. protectionism since President Donald Trump took power in January 2017.

Talks to update the North American Free Trade Agreement are moving slowly as Canada and Mexico seek to address a series of radical U.S. demands for change. The negotiations were supposed to wrap up by end-March look set to overrun by months.

“Even if a new NAFTA were to be signed tomorrow I think we would still face a lot of turbulence in our relationship with the United States on trade,” said Timothy Sargent, the top bureaucrat in Canada’s Trade Ministry.

Sargent, speaking to an Ottawa conference organized by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, noted recent U.S. moves to impose duties on Canadian softwood lumber, commercial airliners and some paper products. All were prompted by complaints from American firms.

Sargent also cited Trump’s recent move to place duties on imports of solar panels.

“I think we can expect more of that,” he said. “The way the U.S. system is set up (makes) it very easy for businesses that think they face challenges to go and get countervail or antidumping actions. So I think there are very big challenges for Canada.”

Steve Verheul, Canada’s chief NAFTA negotiator, is due to address the conference later on Tuesday.

Last December Canada launched a wide-ranging trade complaint against the United States at the World Trade Organization, challenging Washington’s use of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, speaking at the end of the most recent NAFTA talks in Montreal last month, called the move “unprecedented, imprudent, even spiteful.”


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PODCAST

An Update on the NAFTA Renegotiations

May 21, 2018


On today's Global Exchange Podcast, we touch base with CGAI's North American trade experts in light of a busy week on the NAFTA file in Washington. After months of hard-pressed negotiations, and 6 weeks of 'perpetual' discussions in Washington, the deal has reached its next turning point, with Congressional leadership signalling that they'd need a new deal by May 17th in order to have it passed before U.S. mid-term elections in the Fall. With no deal in sight, and the Congressional deadline now in the rear-view mirror, we sit down with Sarah Goldfeder, Laura Dawson, and Eric Miller to ask where we go from here.


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