Evaluation-Trump lesson on U.S. protectionism guides Canadian international coverage By Stocksak

© Stocksak. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden welcomes Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau throughout the ninth Summit of the Americas, in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 8, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photograph

By Steve Scherer

OTTAWA (Stocksak) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s authorities realized a lesson when former U.S. President Donald Trump compelled the renegotiation of the North American commerce pact 5 years in the past: by no means underestimate U.S. protectionism.

Taking that lesson to coronary heart has prompted Canada to reflect U.S. technique within the Pacific and tout itself as a substitute for China for very important clear know-how supplies within the hope that changing into a long-term strategic associate of the USA will insulate it from protectionist impulses sooner or later.

In latest speeches to Washington policymakers and in its international coverage alignment with the USA over China, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and on Arctic defenses, Canadian officers try to make sure their nation’s highly effective southern neighbor acknowledges the worth of its friendship.

The following U.S. presidential election is lower than two years away and Trump final week mentioned he would run once more, suggesting the “America first” commerce coverage might once more be on the poll. Even with out Trump, the USA has proven indicators of changing into more and more leery of free commerce lately.

Trump slapped tariffs on Canadian aluminum and metal throughout his time period, whereas President Joe Biden thought-about tax incentives for American carmakers that will have harm Canada’s auto sector, earlier than abandoning the thought in August after a significant lobbying effort from Ottawa.

“You at all times should have a thoughts to (the U.S. election in) 2024… When America goes America first, they overlook Canada’s proper subsequent door,” mentioned a senior supply conversant in the Canadian authorities’s pondering on international coverage.

Protectionist insurance policies that harm Canada are “an even bigger danger with Trump as a result of he is so unpredictable and mercurial,” mentioned Roland Paris, Trudeau’s former international coverage adviser and professor of worldwide affairs on the College of Ottawa.

However Trump displays a broader shift away from free commerce in U.S. politics “that could be a problem for Canada in coping with any U.S. administration,” Paris mentioned.

Canada, in consequence, is poised to introduce an Indo-Pacific technique as quickly as subsequent week that in some ways mirrors the one with the identical identify launched by the USA earlier this yr, each aiming to counter Chinese language energy within the area.

On the identical time, the Trudeau authorities is busy selling Canada as a possible various provider to China, particularly on important minerals like cobalt, manganese, lithium and graphite for electrical car batteries, a market the Chinese language now dominate.


Canadian and Chinese language relations have been chilly since Canada’s arrest of Huawei Applied sciences government Meng Wanzhou in 2018 on a U.S. extradition request, and Beijing’s subsequent arrest of two Canadians on spying expenses. That standoff ended final yr.

Two conferences between Trudeau and China’s President Xi Jinping on the G20 summit final week laid naked ongoing tensions. Within the second chat, Xi admonished Trudeau for leaking the contents of their first assembly, the place he introduced up Chinese language “interference” in Canada’s elections.

“I do not wish to undermine the Indo-Pacific technique by saying it is solely about the USA, as a result of it is not, however having a robust Indo-Pacific technique can also be necessary in our bilateral relationship with the USA,” the senior supply mentioned.

Trudeau and International Minister Melanie Joly toured the Indo-Pacific area final week, assembly with leaders and saying new investments to assist construct infrastructure within the area.

Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne this week is main a commerce delegation to Japan and Korea.

“The Indo-Pacific technique is about diversification” of provide chains, Champagne informed Stocksak on Friday, saying he wished to convey the message that: “We might be your provider of selection, particularly with regards to important minerals, with regards to power.” It was his third journey to Japan in six months.

In October, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland echoed an concept that U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen first introduced up earlier this yr about “friend-shoring” or outsourcing provide chains to trusted nations, as an alternative of counting on authoritarian governments like Russia or China.

“The place democracies have to be strategically weak, we ought to be weak to one another,” Freeland mentioned in a speech on the Brookings Establishment coverage think-tank in Washington.

Ten days later, Champagne took an identical message to a panel dialogue for enterprise leaders in Washington, urging a “decoupling” from China.

Canada won’t be caught off-guard by U.S. protectionist urges, mentioned the senior supply.

“It is pure that over time, individuals overlook that their neighbors have a lawnmower they will borrow. We’re saying we’re proper right here. We have it.”

($1 = 1.3449 Canadian {dollars})

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