Canada Must Prepare to Stand Up to US on Trade

CANADA & US - A Canadian-based International Trade Consultant suggests Canada will need to clearly demonstrate it's prepared to stand up to the United States when it comes to trade, Bruce Cochrane writes.
calendar icon 13 March 2017
clock icon 3 minute read

Negotiations aimed at revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement are expected to get underway later this year.

Peter Clark, with Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates, expects the US approach to be "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" so it will be the people who are complaining, for example about dairy, about wine and there will be other issues and we can anticipate significant changes.

Peter Clark-Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates

Right now they're in a position where nobody should have any faith in what they have done because everything is open.

They want to be able to open what they've done years ago, they want to put regular renegotiation provisions in new agreements, they want to renegotiate agreements if they don't actually gain a surplus from them which is unheard of in international trade.

It's a new world, new rules and it's not give and take.

It's take take take.

In the past we've been able to rely on the WTO for breaches of the WTO.

NAFTA dispute settlement is basically useless because it's non-binding.

The United States is now exploring ways to get around using dispute settlement under the WTO, particularly if the rulings don't favor them.

Basically, if it comes to that, we have to demonstrate that we're willing to extract a kilo or two of flesh of our own.

I would say the best model that we've used so far is the retaliation list that we published in Country of Origin Labelling.

That was a first for Canada.

Mr Clark suggests, in the event the US fails to operate in good faith, Canada will need to rally support in the US and that's done by picking targets, publicizing those targets and make sure those targets affect the constituencies of key legislators.

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