Harm Caused by Changing US Trade Policies Avoidable Through Options

CANADA - A Canadian based International Trade Consultant says there are options available in the event the United States implements trade policies that cause economic harm to Canada, reports Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 16 March 2017
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Negotiations aimed at revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement are expected to commence later this year.

Peter Clark, with Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates, says, in the past Canada has relied on the World Trade Organization to deal with breaches of interactional trade agreements but, in a world where the United States is looking for ways to get around the WTO dispute settlement process, Canada will have to demonstrate that it's willing to extract a kilo or two of flesh of its own.

Peter Clark-Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates

You're going to have challenges because the way the Americans negotiate is they push push push and if we want them to back off or they actually do something that hurts us we have to be able to rally what support we can get in the United States and that's done by picking targets, publicizing the targets and making sure those targets are going to affect key legislators constituencies.

We could also, for example, threaten to put a tax on everything coming from the United States because they don't have carbon taxes and if they don't have carbon taxes effectively they're providing a benefit to their industries and their farmers and ranchers that we don't have.

We could, if they change the tax system so that there's a benefit on all US exports in terms of rebate of income taxes, we could slap a countervailing duty on at the border because that would be an illegal subsidy.

There's a whole range of things that we can do if people have the imagination to work them through and the legislators have the intestinal fortitude to implement them.

Mr Clark suggests the best example so far of what needs to be done is the retaliation list that was published in response to US Mandatory County of Origin Labelling.

That, he notes, was a first for Canada.

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