U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he departs the White House in Washington, U.S., on his way to the G7 Summit in Canada, June 8, 2018. (Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS)

Don’t let hatred of Trump lead Canada into costly trade retaliation blunder, says U.S. expert

Share

Canadians shouldn’t let their hatred of Trump blind them into stumbling into a full-out trade war with the United States, says an American expert on international trade.

Marc Busch, professor of International Business Diplomacy at the School of Foreign Service, at Georgetown University, says Canadians should remember that the tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, imposed by the Trump administration under the guise of national security concerns, are as unpopular in the U.S. as they are in Canada.

“It’s important for Canadians to realize that Trump 232 tariffs are under challenge by domestic U.S. constituents in domestic U.S. courts and in the U.S. Congress itself,” Busch said in a phone interview from Washington D.C. “Everyone is feeling the pain and, generally speaking, that’s what happens in a trade war.”

(click to listen to the full interview with Marc Busch)

Listen
Canada responds ‘in sorrow, not in anger’

Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited Stelco in Hamilton on Friday, June 29, 2018 where she met with employees in the cold rolling plant and announced the government’s latest efforts in response to US tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. (Peter Power/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The federal government unveiled an updated list of U.S. products last Friday subject to Canadian retaliatory tariffs as of July 1 while also pledging to spend up to $2 billion to protect Canada’s steel, aluminum and manufacturing industries and workers.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland revealed the final list of $16.6-billion worth of retaliatory tariffs on a wide range of U.S. products, including steel and aluminum at an event at a steel factory in Hamilton, Ontario.

“I cannot emphasize enough the regret with which we take these countermeasures,” Freeland said, speaking at the Stelco steel plant. “We are acting very much in sorrow, not in anger.”

There are a lot of constituents on both sides of the border that are very unhappy with the situation, said Busch, who grew up in British Columbia and has taught at Queen’s University in Ontario.

“It really is important to indicate that the opposition within the United States – never mind the opposition to the United States – is formidable and is currently playing out both politically and legally,” Busch said.

Asymmetrical trade warfare?

Amir Attaran believes Canada should threaten to target U.S. pharmaceutical patents right away. (CBC)

However, what he really worries about is the idea floated in a recent op-ed article published in Maclean’s magazine by Ottawa-based law professor Amir Attaran, said Busch who also produces a new podcast dedicated to international trade.

Instead of engaging in tit-for-tat dollar-for-dollar retaliations against the American Goliath, as Ottawa has done so far, Attaran is suggesting Canada engage in asymmetrical trade warfare and threaten to suspend U.S. pharmaceutical patents.

“Six of the world’s top ten pharmaceutical companies are American,” Attaran writes. “No industry throws more lobbying dollars around Washington—more than the banking, defence, and automobile industries combined. Any trade retaliation aimed at pharmaceuticals certainly will be felt on Wall Street and heard in the White House.”

Canada has already expropriated pharmaceutical patents in the 1970s and 1980s, but stopped because of the 1988 Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the precursor to NAFTA.

“Now that the White House wants to back out of our trading relations and NAFTA too, it is fair to revisit that decision,” Attaran writes.

‘Unshirted hell’ to come

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has added Canada to a priority list of countries that don’t adequately protect intellectual property rights over concerns about border controls and pharmaceutical practices. (Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS)

That would be a huge mistake, says Busch.

“It would be an unmitigated disaster and would be WTO-illegal,” Busch said. “And at the time when Canada is front and centre on Special 301 Priority Watch List of the United States to begin to suspend American patents on drugs would invite unshirted hell from not only from this administration but any U.S. administration.”

In April, the Trump administration labelled 36 countries as inadequately protecting U.S. intellectual property rights, keeping China on a priority watch list and adding Canada over concerns about its border controls and pharmaceutical practices.

A move by Canada on suspending U.S. pharmaceutical patents, motivated by a “blinding” hatred of Trump, would bring NAFTA negotiations to a halt and would undoubtedly invite massive reprisals backed by the U.S. electorate in a very big way, Busch said.

Focus on reviving TPP and TTIP, not NAFTA

Trade ministers and delegates from the remaining members of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) attend the TPP ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 in Danang, Vietnam. (Na Son Nguyen, Pool/AP Photo)

At the same time Busch thinks that the U.S., Canada and Mexico should focus more of their energies on the Trans-Pacific Partnership rather “than try and rebirth a NAFTA 2.0.”

Canada and 10 other Pacific nations signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in March, after President Trump pulled out the U.S. from its previous version known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

But a TPP revival in its original 12-state format would happen only if Trump decides to bring the United States back into the fold and starts seriously exploring the possibility of concluding a free trade deal with Europe similar to the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), Busch said.

“My hope is that, yes, negotiations in that direction would be the answer not only of Canada-U.S. relations but also the EU-U.S. relations,” Busch said.

There are growing demands for jump-starting the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) by the European carmakers who are concerned by the disruption of the potential 232 tariffs on the auto industry, Busch said.

“One way or another, with or without litigation, with or without retaliation, a negotiated settlement has to be struck,” Busch said. “And the best venue for that would be firming up the rule of law and a trade deal that is deep and encompassing.”

column-banner-LEVON

Share
Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Economy, International, Politics

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

2 comments on “Don’t let hatred of Trump lead Canada into costly trade retaliation blunder, says U.S. expert
  1. Ursula Wagner says:

    We all know that Trump is “special”, but who will be in the end the winner, who the loser
    in this trade war?

    The USA has not necessarily to be the big winner.

  2. Peter Ashcroft says:

    The problem we all have is the difference between The President of the United States of America, who is normally a politician, and Donald Trump, the present incumbent, who is an out and out businessman.