Canada – U.S. November 2021

Written by  //  November 19, 2021  //  Canada, Mexico, Trade & Tariffs, U.S.  //  No comments

19 November
Trudeau’s U.S. visit delivers wake-up call about new North American reality
Americans see trouble ahead — and see protectionism as a solution
Alexander Panetta
(CBC Analysis) Former U.S. president Donald Trump’s protectionist impulses were no aberration: this era is vastly different from the one that produced the 1965 Auto Pact and spurred decades of Canada-U.S. economic integration.
Our challenge now involves living beside a worried superpower that’s distracted by generational challenges in which Canada is at best a bit player.
At a GM plant in Detroit, Biden clearly articulated the goal of his tax-credit plan for electric vehicles: “To buy American-made, union-made, clean vehicles.”
It’s now China, China, China
But the president said something else in that speech that reveals an aspect of the American psyche that pervades everything else at this particular moment.
Biden called this an inflection point in history, comparing the globe to a chessboard where all the old pieces are moving around; he predicted future generations will ask a question about our time: Did the United States compete with China?
That fear of losing pervades nearly everything in Washington — lost economic power, lost manufacturing capacity, lost military supremacy.
Even in a week where the United States hosted its two closest neighbours and biggest customers for a so-called Three Amigos summit, North America was the second-biggest international story here.
A virtual call between Biden and China’s Xi Jinping not only drew far more media coverage, but infinitely more curiosity from the American public.

17-18 November
After talks in D.C., Trudeau says he’s still concerned about threats to Canada’s auto sector
Experts say U.S. tax credit for American-made electric vehicles would devastate Canadian car production
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday he pressed his U.S. counterpart to drop a provision of the pending $1.9-trillion social infrastructure bill which has the potential to devastate the Canadian auto sector.
At issue is a clause buried in the Build Back Better Act, President Joe Biden’s plan to inject hundreds of billions of dollars into social programs and climate initiatives to help juice the country’s COVID-19 recovery.
To spur the fledgling electric vehicle (EV) industry, the Democratic-controlled Congress is proposing sizeable tax credits worth up to $12,500 US to buyers of new electric vehicles — as long as those cars are manufactured by union workers in the U.S.
Biden was non-committal when asked if his administration would exempt Canada from such a tax plan, given that the North American auto industry is so deeply intertwined.
“We’re going to talk about that. It hasn’t even passed yet through the House … and we don’t know what will happen in the Senate. There’s a lot of complicating factors,” he said. The bill was expected to pass, with the tax credit intact, late Thursday.
At Summit, U.S., Canada and Mexico Avoid Thorny Questions
The meeting let North American leaders present a united front without going into detail on deeper issues, including trade disputes or migration.
“This is one of the easiest relationships that we have,” Mr. Biden said during a meeting with Mr. Trudeau, glossing over Canada’s complaints that the president’s buy-American policies on goods like electric vehicles have disrupted commerce between the two countries

At long last, the Three Amigos meet
(Politico) The CEO of the Canadian American Business Council, SCOTTY GREENWOOD, calls it a “happy coincidence” that she was able to gather a high-powered room of cross-border corporate and government luminaries [for the CABC’s annual State of the Relationship gala] on the eve of the first North American Leaders Summit in five years.
Trudeau ended his evening at the Hay-Adams, but he had himself a day. After his plane landed at Andrews Air Force Base on Tuesday morning, Trudeau headed to a panel at the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute, a think tank that indulges Canada’s desire for a piece of the discourse in the capital.
The PM brought key cabmins: Deputy PM CHRYSTIA FREELAND, Trade Minister MARY NG and Public Safety Minister MARCO MENDICINO.
Next up was a trip to Capitol Hill. Trudeau brought Freeland, [Canadian ambassador Kirsten] Hillman and Ng into a meeting at the walnut-paneled Rayburn Room with House Speaker NANCY PELOSI, minority leader KEVIN MCCARTHY and a bipartisan gang of congresspeople.

14 November
The Three Amigos: Getting North America in Gear Again
Colin Robertson
(Policy) Trudeau will pick up with Biden where our new foreign minister, Mélanie Joly, left off during her meeting last week with Secretary of State Tony Blinken. They discussed the geo-strategic issues – climate, COVID, China, the upcoming democracy summit, Afghanistan, Haiti – as well as the Enbridge pipelines 5 and 3 and the protectionist measures in the administration’s “Build Back Better” and infrastructure legislation.
The Joly-Blinken meeting was important on several counts: it affirmed that she will be the lead minister on US relations (it had gotten confused when Chrystia Freeland retained oversight after leaving Foreign Affairs). It also delegated discussion of the ‘irritants’ to the ministerial level (and with the impending arrival of US Ambassador David Cohen, the quiet diplomacy of our two ambassadors can resume). There has been an unfortunate tendency to want to push every problem to the prime minister’s discussions with the president. It baffles the Americans, who think that when G7 leaders meet the president, the top table should not be dealing with what Condi Rice called the ‘condominium issues’.

10 November
Biden to host Canadian, Mexican leaders at first Three Amigos summit since 2016
(CTV) High on that list will be a proposed tax credit for American-made electric vehicles, part of the Biden administration’s ambitious economic and social spending package known as the Build Back Better Act.
Critics say the credit, worth as much as US$12,500 to new-car buyers in the U.S., would give an unfair advantage to Big Three automakers and undermine the highly integrated auto manufacturing process that exists between the two countries.
That complaint dovetails with Canada’s broader concerns about Biden’s forceful Buy American rhetoric, which includes a more stringent vetting process for foreign contractors and suppliers looking to capitalize on a generational effort to overhaul U.S. infrastructure.
Pipelines, too, remain a point of contention: cancelling the Keystone XL expansion was part of Biden’s Day 1 agenda, and the White House has been dragged into a dispute between Michigan and Enbridge Inc. over a planned upgrade to the cross-border Line 5 pipeline.
The two countries are also bracing for a showdown on long-standing continental irritants like softwood lumber and dairy imports. The U.S. complaint about Canada’s rules for importing American-made milk products is the first significant trade dispute since the advent of the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement.
Canada is also anxious to play a vital strategic role in supplying critical minerals and rare-earth elements to make the batteries and electronic components so essential to the rapidly expanding North American electric vehicle market.

8 November
What the U.S.-Canada border looks like on day land crossings reopen
(CTV) Travellers heading into the United States at major land border crossings experienced wait times of up to three hours in some areas on the first day in 20 months that fully vaccinated Canadians were allowed to cross for non-essential visits.
[Those] heading into the U.S. at the St-Bernard-de-Lacolle crossing between Quebec and New York were experiencing delays of up to 180 minutes at one point with six lanes open, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) and the Canadian government site for Canada to U.S. border wait times.

3 November
Secretary Blinken’s Call with Former Canadian Foreign Minister Garneau
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with former Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau today. Secretary Blinken congratulated Foreign Minister Garneau on his successful tenure as Foreign Minister and expressed his sincere appreciation for his partnership and ardent support of the U.S.-Canada relationship. Secretary Blinken noted the former Foreign Minister’s dedication and leadership on bilateral, regional, and global priorities, and the shared successes in developing the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership, achieving the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations, and strengthening the U.S.-Canada relationship.
‘I wanted to make sure the Americans were first’: Mélanie Joly makes her first official call as foreign minister
Susan Delacourt
Canada’s new Global Affairs minister, Mélanie Joly, has held her first official call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, kicking off a conversation she expects to consume a large amount of her time in the new job.
The two talked by phone on Wednesday. According to a U.S. State Department release, Blinken offered congratulations to Joly and hopes for continuing talks on the “close partnership” between their two countries. The secretary of state also spoke to Joly’s predecessor, Marc Garneau, to thank him for the service abruptly ended in last week’s cabinet shuffle.
Champagne in U.S. to talk unblocking supply chain, and push rare-earth minerals
Federal cabinet minister Francois-Philippe Champagne starts two days of meetings in Washington today with the goal of unblocking North America’s supply chain.
Champagne is the federal innovation, science and industry minister, a portfolio he describes as being at the core of building back Canada’s post-COVID-19 pandemic economy.
Champagne says he will be pushing Canada’s largely untapped rare-earth mining sector, which would allow the U.S. to be less reliant on China, the world’s leading supplier of those minerals.
The pandemic-induced bottlenecks have created shortages of semiconductors and rare-earth minerals needed to power everything from computers and cellphones to electric vehicles.
Champagne’s visit followed the talks that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Joe Biden and others held at last week’s G20 summit in Rome on easing the supply chain crunch that has clogged U.S. ports.
Champagne says a “regional” supply chain focus is required to make the North American continent more self-reliant and less vulnerable to offshore forces.

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