Monday, 18 June, 2018

Trump attacks Canada over 'highly restrictive' trade tactics

EU strikes back with first anti Trump commercial retaliation US steel tariffs impact on local farmers
Edward Snyder | 10 March, 2018, 01:55

Two truths here: One is that the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement - a three-country deal - have flowed in all directions.

China said it would "protect its interests", and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was "confident we're going to continue to be able to defend Canadian industry".

Mr Kevin Brady, the Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the tariff issue would be "front and centre" in the Nafta haggling. "It must be that way".

Several officials privately expressed frustration at his latest broadsides during the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico, where Trump has regularly raised hackles by insisting on building a border wall he says Mexicans will pay for.

U.S. President Donald Trump signs a presidential proclamation placing tariffs on aluminum imports and steel imports while surrounded by workers from the steel and aluminum industries at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 8, 2018. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross revealed during a separate TV appearance that many countries had requested talks on tariff exemptions, and that any decision was up to the president. Trump signaled yesterday he'd hold the exemption as a bargaining chip to play if he didn't get what he wants for the US out of the NAFTA negotiation. "There's more hard work to do, and we will not let up", said Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, who led what officials called an aggressive lobbying campaign to persuade Trump to grant an exemption.

The European Union this week threatened retaliatory levies on politically sensitive US goods, and China last week sent an economic envoy seeking to clarify USA demands.

"If we're able to make a deal with Canada and Mexico, then there will be no reason for the tariffs", Trump said, repeating a comment he made earlier this week suggesting both countries should capitulate to usa demands in renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in order to avoid the costly tariffs.




The three Nafta partners - Canada, Mexico and the U.S. - have been locked in talks aimed at possibly revamping the trade deal, but no clear framework has so far emerged. A hit to Canada's steel industry would be felt by other sectors, too.

Mexico and Canada have been looking elsewhere for economic relationships, and they're finding them.

"But they try to resolve some of the issues within the sectors to see if they can get some agreement, whereas this nearly gets so, 'Well, if you don't do this, we'll just sacrifice another whole sector, '" he added. Our factories have left our country, our jobs have left our country. Closer to home, his hot rhetoric about trade with Mexico and Canada is propelling our neighbors to start pulling away. In a tweet, he said the "U.S.is acting swiftly on Intellectual Property theft".

Canada is now in talks to join the Pacific Alliance - a trade bloc including Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

"We are disappointed, to say the least, that the Trump administration would impose a potentially debilitating tariff on aluminium imports from the Kitimat smelter", said O'Driscoll.

Energy also weighed on the commodity-heavy TSX, as oil prices saw sharp losses for a second day in a row after the U.S. Energy Department reported Wednesday that American oil production rose last week - a move that thwarts ongoing efforts by OPEC to tighten global supplies and support prices. Meanwhile, Japan, the European Union and the US are united in their calls for China to reign in its surplus steel production, and Tokyo is considering coordinating talks between Washington and the European Union to prevent a serious confrontation.

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