Feds remind U.S. lawmakers of Canada’s trade importance

The United States will soon have a new president and the world does not know what to expect. 


These days it seems as though a single tweet can be enough to send eyes rolling and trigger sharp rebukes from the international community. 


So far, Canada has stayed out of Donald Trump’s line of fire. While the president-elect has repeatedly pointed his finger at Mexico, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the U.S. domestic and Japanese auto sector, he’s professed his love for Canada on more than one occasion.


Although Trump’s stated policies of building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, tearing up NAFTA, deporting illegal workers and imposing a border tax on many items built outside the U.S. still appear to be his priorities, none have been tied to severing the U.S.’s relationship with Canada. 


On NAFTA, experts are divided about what Trump’s position might mean for Canada. Some argue Canada could benefit from a NAFTA renegotiation, insisting there are areas that need to be modernized. Others question how a renegotiation could happen without threatening sectors like Canada’s supply management industry.


Still, Ottawa is not taking chances.


Canadian media outlets have reported some of the prime minister’s top advisers have travelled to Washington to meet with Trump’s transition team, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is said to be a key player in Trump’s inner circle. The meetings were meant to avert a trade war with the U.S., Canada’s largest trading partner. 


ADVERTISMENT

Trump isn’t the only American attracting Canadians’ attention. In early January, the day the 115th U.S. congress was sworn in, Prime Minister JustinTrudeau and Canadian ambassador David MacNaughton released a two minute video reminding American politicians Canada is a key player in the U.S. economy. 


“Together we’ve built an economic relationship that supports jobs in every congressional district. We’re the largest international customer for goods and services made in the U.S.A.,” Trudeau said in the video. 


“And not only do we buy from you, but we’re also part of the world’s most advanced economy. American and Canadian businesses work closely together to develop and sell our products to the world.”


In 2015, the U.S. traded about US$662.7 billion in goods and services with Canada, figures from the U.S. Trade Representative show. U.S. exports of agricultural products to Canada totalled $24 billion in 2015, making Canada the largest export market for American agriculture goods.


Canadian Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay doubled down on Canada’s trade pitch in a key note address to the Legislative Agriculture Chairs Summit of the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Jan. 8. The agriculture industry, he stressed, is incredibly integrated, with Canadians and Americans making “great food together.” 


“The U.S. is our closest friend, partner and most important economic relationship. Working together to identify opportunities for our farmers offers them the best opportunity to succeed, grow our economies and create jobs,” the minster said in an Agriculture Canada statement released after the speech. 


ADVERTISMENT

MacAulay has opted to take a wait-and-see approach to the Trump presidency, promising to address challenges if and when they come.


“There’s a new government in place. The American people have spoken. Let’s just wait and see what develops before we jump to major conclusions,” he told reporters after the election.


The agriculture minister isn’t the only one waiting to see.


As of press time, Trump had not named his agriculture secretary — one of two vacancies left in his cabinet (Veteran’s Affairs is the other gap). 


The delay has U.S. agricultural groups nervous, while north of the border farmers and industry wait to see which direction Trump plans to take.


Either way, it’s going to be one heck of a ride.

ADVERTISMENT

Kelsey Johnson is a reporter with iPolitics, www.ipolitics.ca.

  • Earthman

    Jump to conclusions,About Donald J Trump?Where do we start.330-350 million plus citizens in the U.S and this guy is the best you could do?Very bizarre indeed.The next 4 years will be interesting to say the least.

    • Harold

      The NAFTA agreement expires this year. Imagine having a chance to correct the problems discovered in the current agreement that have negatively effected Canada. Currently, Canada has been sued more times than the USA and Mexico combined. What does “ripping up a old contract” mean? Why don’t we jump to that conclusion? Clinton had NO desire. What we need to know is never spoken of. Placing Clinton under a magnifying glass, it is true that Trump was the best offered. To oppose what the Americans have done, is to oppose Democracy it-self. Further, i was not offered a ballot either, and no American was standing beside me when I voted. Go figure. It is best, as always, to “jump to conclusions” after the 3rd year of presidency, when more facts are available, rather than mere predictions. Have Canadians ever been fooled?
      Personally, I believe that the economic bubble is over-due to burst, and that it is being held-over, and Trump will be the “fall guy”. Canada will go down along with the USA, and there is not an American President who can stop it. Because of the held ignorance of the money system, the majority, along with Canadians, will believe that Trump had something to do with it.
      I have no proof, and only correlation for this prediction. but I worry of more greater things than who the next American President puppet of the corporation of the USA will be. Should i mention that the money spent on US war efforts would feed and provide technology to the world’s starving. Just the cost of 3 bombs buy’s peace from starvation for a large community for a year. A trade for destroying property or overturning soil or killing the innocent. Truly the public largely innocent to this, have reached a higher plateau or understanding of humanity, than the ones who lead us. Classified are not document’s, they are a class(ified) of mere mortals who lead in secrecy from their own mere mortal public, and yet the public believe they are enlightened. Much like…..go save the world, but don’t offer proof of what you are doing that we may object.
      Tell us when it’s too late. (DE, meaning no -class-ified) From class to no class.
      Be what may, a middle finger offends us more.

      • Earthman

        Sure buddy His has never said it was a bad deal for any other.Just the US. so thanks for that opinion.And our jobs lose will rise either way.Auto industries, steal sorry steel industries.I still remember the deal we swallowed during the U.S steal sorry again steel years.Peace to you and yours.

        • Harold

          Trudeau would not say that “ripping up” the NAFTA trade deal is necessary because the USA has been treated unfairly. Trudeau’s immediate concern is for Canadian business. Especially at election time. Trump’s comment’s are expected and ordinary. The USA signed the deal in the first place, because the contract promised a gain. That did not happen, either in the USA, or in Canada or Mexico. All countries suffered losses instead, at the hand of the multi-nationalists, who did create the contract.. On behalf of the American’s, Trump is standing against the Multi-nationalists, and no one else. Anything else is a media contrived circus of events. Representing the USA, Trump has not been afraid to say this. This is the difference between what his leadership may be and what ours is. Our government has said nothing.
          Unlike other politicians, a billionaire has no problem getting concise information, and he does not need to be someone’s slave, or depend upon a government paycheck or bribe. It’s a different frame of mind, and as always, trust yet to be earned.

          • Earthman

            Trump said it not the Calvin Klein kid.

          • Harold

            My mistake. I thought you were being serious. You have indeed corrected me. Thank you.

      • Earthman

        I’ll talk to you next year on this date and then we will see.Peace to you and yours.