Canada – U.S.

Written by  //  October 12, 2020  //  Canada, Trade & Tariffs, U.S.  //  No comments

See also Canada-U.S. 2015-2017
USMCA (formerly known as NAFTA)

5 ways the U.S. election result could impact Canada
Trump and Biden have different ideas about trade, defence, China, energy and migration
(CBC) Some irritants would remain no matter who wins. For instance, Biden promises more Buy American policies and perennial disputes like softwood lumber would not disappear. But Biden says he’d drop some of Trump’s most aggressive moves against allies, like the steel and aluminum tariffs based on alleged national-security grounds. He has also hinted he might, eventually, try negotiating U.S. re-entry into the pan-Pacific trade pact now known as CPTPP.
Trump’s administration prides itself on a hard-nosed, transformative trade policy that includes lots of tariffs and duties, and has essentially paralyzed the World Trade Organization’s dispute system. His trade team says it has a long-term plan; its critics say the results so far offer more chaos than benefits.
… Biden is a staunch NATO advocate, and under his watch, Canada could face a different challenge: conversations about NATO’s future role and missions. One major issue continues to hover over the continent: whether Canada will wind up spending billions to install new radar over the Arctic.

26 August
Gen. Rick Hillier calls Trump adviser Peter Navarro an ‘idiot’ for belittling Canada’s role in Afghanistan
(CBC) Hillier was reacting to comments Navarro made in a new book by CNN correspondent Jim Sciutto. In the book — The Madman Theory: Trump Takes on the World — Navarro is quoted speaking dismissively about Canada’s role in the NATO mission in Afghanistan. CTV obtained audio recordings of Navarro’s interviews with Sciutto, who was questioning the trade adviser about the Trump administration’s often-caustic approach to foreign relations when the subject of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan came up.
Trump’s advisors ‘hate what Canada represents’: Former ambassador
“I think that the West Wing of the White House, and that specific group – [Stephen] Miller, [Peter] Navarro, [Robert] Lighthizer, I’d say even [former advisor Steve] Bannon is having some influence here – they hate what Canada represents and what Canada represents looks very similar to what the previous administration was fighting for on a global basis,” [former ambassador to Canada] Heyman told BNN Bloomberg – 18 June 2018

10 August
Jeremy Kinsman: Cold War rhetoric has no place in the reality of the U.S.-China feud
(Globe & Mail) The popular U.S. assumption that it must remain the foremost superpower in the world has been corroded by Mr. Trump’s “America First” unilateralism. Canada suffered just the latest example of the White House’s dismissal of its historical allies and role when Washington slapped yet another round of tariffs on imports of Canadian aluminum, again on the spurious grounds of “national security.”
If the U.S. were to restore its tradition of pragmatic multilateralist leadership, Western democracies would surely come together to demand fairness, reciprocity and more transparency from China. But they would certainly still need to recognize the reality of China’s unprecedented rise and success.
Indeed, it isn’t “appeasement” to signal that we are willing to live in peace with another country with a different economic style and political system.

8 August
A look back at Trudeau and Trump’s four-year-long yo-yo relationship
(CTV) Observations of their yo-yo relationship were most recently documented in Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton’s new memoir.
According to Bolton, Trump only “tolerated” Trudeau but his personal feelings towards the prime minister “made it a lot harder to get things done.”

6-7 August
Canada to impose $3.6B in tariffs in response to Trump’s move against Canadian aluminum
Potential targets include numerous products made in swing states key to U.S. president’s re-election
A disproportionate number of the more than five dozen items on Canada’s potential hit-list are from key U.S. election swing states, including paint dyes and aluminum waste, for which Michigan is a top exporter to Canada; refrigerators and bicycles, for which Wisconsin is the lead exporter; and aluminum powders and bars from Pennsylvania.
Trump announces 10-per-cent tariff on most Canadian aluminum
U.S. President Donald Trump has started a new continental tariff war, reimposing tariffs of 10 per cent on most Canadian aluminum that Canada will match with tariffs of its own.
“In response to the American tariffs announced today, Canada will impose countermeasures that will include dollar-for-dollar retaliatory tariffs,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter on Thursday evening.
Statement by the Deputy Prime Minister on US tariffs on imports of Canadian aluminum
“The August 6th announcement by the United States to impose tariffs on certain Canadian aluminum products, citing national security concerns, is unwarranted and unacceptable.
“Canadian aluminum does not undermine US national security. Canadian aluminum strengthens US national security and has done so for decades through unparalleled cooperation between our two countries. Canada is a reliable supplier of aluminum for American value-added manufacturers. Aluminum trade between Canada and the US has long been mutually beneficial economically for both countries, making the North American aluminum industry as a whole more competitive around the world.”

24 July
David Frum: Canada Got Better. The United States Got Trump.
Two North American nations seemed to be on the same path—and then they diverged.
In retrospect, the most humiliating fact about the coronavirus pandemic was that under responsible leadership and with some moderate amount of social cohesion, it was a highly manageable threat. Within less than six months of the first cases, it became apparent what to do. Almost everybody else in the developed world then did it.
It could have been otherwise. It still could be. But in July as in January, the biggest difference between the United States and the rest of the developed world is that the U.S. has the misfortune of having Donald Trump in charge.
North of the border, the disease is abating. Canada has steadily gained ground against the virus, even as the United States has surrendered to it.
In the first months of the year, the trajectory of the disease in Canada approximately tracked the trajectory in the United States. Then, in early summer, the two countries’ experiences began to radically diverge. At the end of April, the United States was reporting new cases at a rate—relative to population—approximately double Canada’s. That was only 12 weeks ago. On July 22, the United States reported new cases at a rate 14 times Canada’s.
It’s not the health-care system, exactly—although that has coped better, too … The politicians have behaved better, too. …nobody has thought to make a political issue out of the science of fighting pandemics.

23 July
(The Hill Times) The Federal Court has ruled that Canada’s Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S. is unconstitutional, siding with refugee advocates in saying that it violates the Charter in its recognition of a person’s right to freedom and security. Under the agreement, which has been in place since 2004, Canada or the U.S. can refuse entry to refugee claimants who arrive at their border, on the basis that they are already in a country deemed to be safe. Those who are turned away, the court noted, are “detained as a penalty” by U.S. authorities. It’s led many claimants to instead enter Canada through unofficial ports of entry. In a joint statement with other organizations, Amnesty International Canada said the experiences of refugee claimants who had been turned away “show us – and convinced the Court – that the U.S. cannot be considered a safe country for refugees.” The court has given Parliament six months to respond to its ruling.

23 June
How new American tariffs on Canadian aluminum could backfire
Last week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer fuelled D.C. rumours of a possible return to tariffs by telling the Senate Finance Committee that a recent spike in imports is a “genuine concern.
If the Trump administration buys the argument that Canadian aluminum exports have surged and slaps a 10 per cent tariff back on products imported from Canada, the move could end up hurting Americans instead, warns the head of the association representing Canada’s aluminum producers.
“Canada stands to win more in a situation like this,” said Jean Simard, the president and chief executive of the Aluminum Association of Canada.
“Production will keep going on, exports will keep going on, and at the end, unfortunately, it’s the U.S. economy that will bear the brunt of this increase in tariffs.”
… earlier this year, Canadian producers pivoted temporarily to primary aluminum ingots — a basic commodity that can be stored in a warehouse until the market picks up, at which point it can be melted into something specific. This “P1020” aluminum is the focus of the data now being spun around Washington. It’s a commodity that directly competes with output from older and less-efficient American facilities.

2 June
Policy Q&A: Sen. Peter Boehm on Canada, Trump and the G7
In the wake of Donald Trump’s postponement of the Camp David G7, Policy Magazine Associate Editor Lisa Van Dusen interviewed Senator Peter Boehm,  former ambassador and Canadian Sherpa for the 2018 Charlevoix G7, by email.
(Policy)  PB: Over time, and not just with the Trump administration, the United States has had a bit of schizophrenic relationship with many of the global multilateral institutions it had been so instrumental in creating after World War II. The US traditionally prefers visible solidarity with “the like-minded”. But when consensus is not evident, or traditional allies will not bend or compromise, it will also go alone. The imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs on G7 countries in 2018, when in fact Canada as chair was working on a potential steel oversupply solution with all G7 members, serves as a good example. On the other hand, I found President Trump to be an avid and quite verbal participant in the Taormina (2017) and Charlevoix (2018) Summits. As the “G1”, the US doesn’t really value the G7 as much as we do and President Trump has made it clear that he thinks global institutions do not serve his increasingly narrow view of the world nor the best interests of his country, to say nothing of the value for money of US contributions. His administration’s positions on the WHO, WTO and indeed the United Nations itself underscore the point. He would expect summit participants to agree with the US position. At a summit that will undoubtedly focus on global pandemic management, economic recovery and China, this may prove a tall order.
LVD: Given that the G7 is comprised of democracies and the G20 includes non-democracies, notably China and Saudi Arabia, do you see this as another arena where the clash of liberal vs. authoritarian world orders is playing out?
PB: That is exactly where the informal nature of the G7 distinguishes itself from other bodies as it is comprised of countries with representative democracy, similar economic structures and observance of human rights all based on the rule of law. Conversations between leaders are not scripted and the discussions are therefore not as unwieldy or formulaic as in the G20.

19 May
Canada, U.S. agree to 30-day extension of ban on non-essential travel: PM Trudeau
(Reuters) U.S. and Canadian officials had said last week it was likely that the measure would be rolled over until June 21. The ban does not cover trade across a border that stretches 5,525 miles (8,891 km) The ban, initially introduced in mid-March, had already been extended in April until May 21.
Trudeau said Canada’s 10 provinces had made it clear they wanted the measures to be rolled over. Washington, he added, had been “very open” to extending the ban.

21 April
Trudeau waits out Trump’s coronavirus provocations
The prime minister counters the president’s Covid-19 challenges by applying lessons learned from NAFTA’s crash course.
In the span of a month, Donald Trump has proposed militarizing the U.S.-Canada border, cutting off N95 mask exports to Canada and then reopening the Canadian frontier despite a raging pandemic.
Far from provoking a meltdown in U.S.-Canada relations, the Covid-19 crisis has revealed an intriguing dynamic: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is finally used to dealing with Trump.
The U.S. president’s coronavirus-driven provocations have been met with “no’s” from top Canadian officials, who have then moved onto other priorities.
When it comes to Covid-19, the next test in the relationship could be on the way. One possibility: the different signals surrounding how and when the two countries — and their states and provinces — intend to reopen their economies and eventually the border. Last week, Trump showed an eagerness to lift restrictions at the Canada-U.S. border, while Trudeau has repeatedly said his government is far from ready for such a step. “We’ll continue to collaborate, to coordinate, but the reality is that it will still be weeks before we can talk about loosening restrictions,” Trudeau said.

18 April
Canada, U.S. agree to extend border restrictions to May 20
Canada and the United States are extending cross-border travel restrictions for another 30 days in order to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Saturday.
The Prime Minister said the non-essential travel restrictions have helped to slow the transmission of COVID-19 in Canada and the restrictions on other foreign nationals visiting Canada will also continue.
“We will continue those measures both with the United States and with the world for what is undoubtedly going to be many more weeks,” he said.
The border between Canada and the United States was restricted to all non-essential travel for a 30-day period starting in late March. The March deal was set to expire April 20. It will now extend at least until May 20.

15 April
Canada-U.S. coronavirus border restrictions could soon be ‘released,’ Trump suggests
The two countries negotiated a mutual ban on non-essential travel in both directions in mid-March, an agreement that explicitly exempted the flow of trade and commerce, as well as vital health care workers like nurses who live and work on opposite sides of the border.

6 April
3M and the Trump Administration Announce Plan to Import 166.5 Million Additional Respirators into the United States over the Next Three Months
Imports to supplement the 35 million N95 respirators 3M currently produces in U.S. per month
3M will import 166.5 million respirators over the next three months primarily from its manufacturing facility in China, starting in April. The Administration is committed to working to address and remove export and regulatory restrictions to enable this plan. The plan will also enable 3M to continue sending U.S. produced respirators to Canada and Latin America, where 3M is the primary source of supply.
US blocks millions of N95 face masks headed for Canada
US officials stop shipment at 3M factory after Trump invoked Defense Production Act to stop exports to Canada and beyond
(The Guardian) US officials have stopped nearly three million specialized masks from being exported to Canada’s most populous province, amid mounting fears that Ontario will run out of supplies for medical staff battling coronavirus by the end of the week.
Doug Ford warns medical supplies bound for Canada blocked at U.S. border

5 April
Coronavirus: B.C. mill ramps up medical pulp production for U.S. supplies — but not for 3M
(Global) A British Columbia mill that makes a special recipe of pulp for surgical masks, gowns and other medical supplies has doubled up on its production for an American customer amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Harmac Pacific president Levi Sampson said their round-the-clock production at the mill near Nanaimo, B.C., has been diverted to make the medical-grade pulp.
Sampson wouldn’t reveal who Harmac’s customer is in the U.S., but did say it was not 3M.
He said Harmac’s pulp is unique in the world and because it’s a blend of primarily western red cedar, a soft fibre, it allows it to be mixed with synthetics to make the end products like masks and gowns.
Some of that medical equipment is making its way back to Canada, Sampson said.

4 April
Trump gives FEMA power to restrict trade of essential goods into Canada despite warning from Trudeau
U.S. President Donald Trump is vowing to stop the export of vital medical supplies despite a warning from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to keep the Canada-U.S. border open to goods needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
At the White House on Friday, Mr. Trump said he would use the Defense Production Act to prevent U.S. companies from selling N95 respirators, surgical masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment to other countries.

Update: Canada won’t retaliate against U.S. ban on medical supplies exports: PM

Mr. Trump shrugged off the warning from Mr. Trudeau, as well as criticism from medical manufacturer 3M, which said the U.S. government had ordered it to stop sending N95s to Canada and Latin America. Later in the briefing, Mr. Trump seemed to soften his position, saying that “long-term orders” from other countries to U.S. companies could go ahead. He did not explain the apparent contradiction. “If they have long-term orders and they’re in there. … I’m not going to be stopping that,” he said.
Trump asks medical supply firm 3M to stop selling N95 respirators to Canada
(Global) U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered the Minnesota-based company to produce and sell as many medical-grade masks as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says it needs.
“The administration also requested that 3M cease exporting respirators that we currently manufacture in the United States to the Canadian and Latin American markets,” a statement from the company read.
Trump Seeks to Block 3M Mask Exports and Grab Masks From Its Overseas Customers
The move would significantly expand the American government’s reach and reverse President Trump’s hesitant use of the Defense Production Act.

1 April
Food supply, emergency vehicle repair: keeping Canada-U.S. trade open key to fight against COVID-19, say stakeholders
The ‘biggest point of concern right now’ is ‘making sure that we keep those shipments of fresh vegetables and other commodities rolling in by truck across the border, truck or train,’ says John Manley.
(Hill Times) With the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic having shifted to the United States, industry stakeholders say Canada-U.S. trade is too vital for cross-border commerce to be halted.
While non-essential travel between Canada and the United States has been barred since March 17, with commerce being exempted, U.S. President Donald Trump publicly floated ending physical distancing instructions before announcing on March 29 that those guidelines would be extended until the end of April, including travel to Canada.

26 March
Trump looking to put troops near Canadian border amid coronavirus fears
(Global) Few people cross from Canada into the United States at an unofficial point each year but the goal of the policy would be to help border guards detect irregular crossers, the sources said.
Trump administration’s proposal to deploy troops to border could damage bilateral relationship, says Freeland
‘We do not think it would be appropriate, given the very cordial relationship that our two countries have, and the military alliance that exists between our two countries,’ says Deputy Prime Minister Freeland.
Canada slams US proposal to station troops on border
The uncompromising comments came as a surprise, since Ottawa has enjoyed smooth relations with the US recently.
(Al Jazeera) Canada on Thursday attacked a proposal by the United States to deploy troops along the undefended joint border to help fight the spread of coronavirus, saying the idea was unnecessary and would damage relations.
Bilateral Distancing: The Trudeau-Trump COVID-19 Divide
As with so many bilateral files since Donald Trump became president, the pandemic response has hit a preposterous climax.
By Jeremy Kinsman
Today’s “America First” mantra and debilitating internal antagonisms can’t last. Indeed, U.S. generation “Z” — now between 8 and 23 — will in a decade be enfranchised. It is the most progressive, least materialistic, most race and identity-inclusive, green and internationalist generation in U.S. history: They number about 110 million.
Hopefully, they’ll ensure this period in Canada-U.S. relations will be just a bad dream in our long narrative as neighbours, one their kids will read about when they study the pandemic of 2020.

(Policy) We took cross-border mingling for granted over the last century. Cultures and instincts in western Washington state and British Columbia dovetail, as they do across the vast undefended border, through the Lake of the Woods and among the Thousand Islands, to Stanstead, Que, and Campobello.
The Second World War deepened the notion that we were basically the same North American people through working and dying together. More than allies, we were neighbours defending the same extended family space. We went on in the post-war creation of a new and safer cooperative world, working from a shared multilateral playbook.
… The U.S. had always cherished its founding disposition to the goals of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Americans churned in debate and defence of rights to speech, guns, identities, and the sacrosanct liberty to make as much money as possible under the law. Canadians deferred to our seemingly more placid goals of “peace, order, and good government.”
… The US coasted into sole super-power status and the prosperous 90s under Bill Clinton, a good friend of Chrétien and Canada, but on September 11, 2001, the roof fell in.
The U.S. lashed out in anger and pain, invading Iraq on spurious grounds. Canada, wisely, stayed out. Anti-terrorism deepened the U.S. militaristic mood, turning the Canada-U.S. border into the northern wall of fortress America, threatening the Canadian economy and NAFTA.
But the U.S. band played on as globalization roared ahead. Banks, predatory investors, and corporations plundered a laisser-faire atmosphere. When it collapsed in an explosion of distrust and rancour over institutionalized fraud in 2008-09, Canada’s regard for order and good government kept our own banks on the side of social responsibility.
Kirsten Hillman officially named Canadian ambassador to the United States
The acting ambassador has been serving in the role since last fall
The word comes after months of speculation that the former trade negotiator would be appointed to the position, making her the first woman ever to serve in the role.
Hillman is widely respected in both Liberal and Conservative circles for her track record as a negotiator.
Under the previous Conservative government, she served as chief negotiator on Canada’s Trans Pacific Partnership team.
Hillman also played a leading role in Canada’s NAFTA negotiations under the Trudeau government.

25 March
Gary Mason: Canada must be ready for the mayhem Trump’s about to unleash
What is about to unfold will be horrifying, unquestionably. The situation in New York, which could become the new global epicentre of the disease, is dire. Governor Andrew Cuomo has pleaded with the White House to do more…. There are scenes of turmoil and disarray everywhere in the U.S.
… And now, President Chaos is promising to begin ramping down social distancing by Apr. 12, despite the pleas of doctors and nurses around the country who are begging him not to do it, as doing so would unleash scenes of pandemonium in already overwhelmed hospitals and allow the disease to spread further and faster. … Canadians also have to be prepared for the fallout of Mr. Trump’s actions.
That means being prepared to tighten restrictions at the border even further. If the virus spreads because of a decision by the president to relax the rules around social distancing, it will undoubtedly mean that those U.S. workers coming into Canada now to transport goods will be at greater risk of carrying the disease.
That, in turn, will put Canadians at risk. And that is not right.
John Ibbitson: Trump and Trudeau are on a collision course over COVID-19 isolation
If U.S. President Donald Trump gets his way, North America may soon embark on a massive, life-and-death medical experiment with hundreds of millions of people as guinea pigs, including you and me and our American friends and relatives.
Unwilling to bear the economic pain of shutting down businesses and keeping people at home to fight the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Trump has declared he wants the American economy “opened up and raring to go,” by Easter weekend, less than three weeks from now, though with the most vulnerable still in isolation and people exercising care around each other.
But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants Canadians to remain at home.
“Social distancing is our best tool” to confront “the greatest health care crisis” in Canada’s history, he reiterated at Wednesday’s press conference.
This means that in a few weeks, many Americans could go back to living their normal lives – while greatly increasing their risk of acquiring COVID-19 – even as Canadians continue to shelter in place. For two countries so intimately linked to take such polar-opposite approaches on this critical issue seems perverse. But we are on that path.
North of the border, government officials were stressing Wednesday that the duration of the Canadian lockdown should be measured not in days or weeks, but in months. The risk here is that public health officials and political leaders may be asking for more than the Canadian economy, and Canadians themselves, can take.

9-10 January
U.S. should have warned Canada of plan to kill Iranian general, say government sources
Soleimani’s death and its aftermath had senior federal officials scrambling for facts
…officials at the highest levels of the Canadian government feared that the act of killing Soleimani threatened to trigger dire consequences in the region.
That source stressed, however, that the event won’t fundamentally change the Canada-U.S. relationship. Canada remains fully committed to the principles of the NATO mission in Iraq and continues to share the overall security objectives of the U.S., the source said.
Aaron Wherry: Trudeau is just the latest PM to keep his distance from an American act of war

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