Open question: why is the Trump Administration “bashing Canada”?

I’ve been hearing from multiple sources that the Canadians are unloved by Trump’s trade negotiation team. This Bloomberg clip gets at the heart of the reports, with the Bloomberg reporter saying that US trade representatives are “bashing Canada” but ready to reach a deal with Mexico in the next month. (watch below or click here)

From the Canadian side of things, you had the Globe & Mail piece I highlighted yesterday, also suggesting talks between the US and Canada were breaking down. The piece was couched as an opportunity for Canada but the undertone was of problems.

EU negotiators were having just as difficult a time with the Trump reactionaries as was the Trudeau government. But they hit on something to win him over; concessions on soybeans and natural gas that allowed Mr. Trump to pronounce a victory of sorts…

Now may be the time, with Mr. Trump facing midterm elections and showing some willingness to strike a deal, for the Trudeau government to do what the EU did. Make the big play.

And the Canadian press is rife with stories about Canada being “shut out” of NAFTA negotiations, with the US allegedly blocking Canada’s even being at the table in Mexico City for the next round of three-party NAFTA negotiations that begins on Thursday.

Bloomberg is also reporting that the chief US negotiator Lighthizer is not engaging Canada’s chief negotiator, Chrystia Freeland, the foreign minister.

So what gives? Why is the Trump Administration playing hardball with Canada, arguably America’s closest ally? I don’t have an answer right now.

What I said in June about Canada being a stalking horse for China doesn’t make a lot of sense in the context of what’s happening now given the rapprochement with Mexico. But the part about wanting to split NAFTA into bilateral talks instead of tripartite negotiations still does.

Nevertheless, I can’t help but think there is some personal animosity driving this negotiation because of residual ill will from the recent G-7 meeting that Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau hosted.

I will update you as and when I receive information.

Comments are closed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More