Liberals ‘not worried’ about trade with U.S. in spite of Donald Trump’s protectionist tendencies
The federal Liberal government says it is not worried about Canada’s level of trade with the United States taking a dive once the protectionist Donald Trump administration takes office, in spite of recently releasing a video underscoring the historical ties between the two countries.
“We’re pretty confident about our trading relationship with the United States,” said parliamentary secretary for international trade, David Lametti.
“It’s important to our economy. It’s important to their economy.”
With two weeks to go before officially taking office, president-elect Trump is already forcing companies to keep their operations at home, or face tariffs if they relocate. It’s all to support the one edict he has insisted will guide his time in office: Buy American and Hire American.
That decree could come with some heavy consequences for Canada, where $2.4 billion in goods crosses between the U.S. and Canada every day. Canada exports so much to the U.S., that trade accounts for close to one-third of the nation’s GDP.
In last week’s video appeal to politicians south of the border, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s emotional message highlighted the fact Canada and the U.S. have “been friends for a long time,” and “grew up together.”
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Standing alongside the prime minister, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. David McNaughton spoke of the strength the two countries hold when combined, saying, “we know that we are better off when we tackle challenges together.”
Trump has promised to either renegotiate or scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement, saying doing so is a top priority upon taking office Jan. 20. So far, his attention seems focused on Mexico, the third signatory to NAFTA.
Already, Trump’s effect seems to be taking hold – last week, Ford Motor Co. cancelled its plans to open a Mexican factory and added 700 jobs in Michigan after Trump criticised the plan. Later in the week, Trump turned his attention to General Motors, which he said is shipping made-in-Mexico cars to the U.S. without penalty.
Still, Lametti insisted the Liberal government isn’t worried – Trump needs only to look at the numbers to know trade with Canada is beneficial, he said.
Federal opposition parties have questioned and criticised the government, suggesting there is no plan to tackle any difficulties that might arise with the incoming administration.
Beyond the video, Lametti wouldn’t say whether the Liberals have any concrete plan to get their message across to Congress and the Trump administration.
“I’m not going to discuss what our plan might or might not be,” he said. “We’re going to continue to promote Canadian interests through the old administration into the new administration.”
Lametti said Ottawa has been in touch with Trump’s administration “over the course of a variety of different dossiers,” and will continue to be in touch.
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