The unpredictability of the new US President Donald Trump is the sword of Damocles hanging over NAFTA, that is, the North American Free Trade Agreement.
And unfortunately, this will endure until the end of his reign at the White House and thus undermine this trade treaty which since 1994 brought Canada, the United States and Mexico together in a vast free trade area .
After having greatly disparaged Mexico, President Trump is now attacking Canada. Its first attack, launched from Wisconsin, targets the rules of the Canadian dairy market, which would unfairly favor Canadian producers against American producers.
Mr. Trump defended Wisconsin’s dairy farms by suggesting that Canada was “unfairly” committed to them.
And he did not need more to say that NAFTA was “a complete disaster” for the United States. And as a result, he promises to make important changes. Even to get rid of it!
Does Canada really hurt American dairy producers? According to our experts and the facts on which they are based, the answer is no!
But for Donald Trump, the important thing is to show his constituents that he is defending himself with his protectionist threats to the punch.
And rightly, because they know full well that Trump is giving them a commercial war based more on a panoply of prejudices than on facts and statistics.
In this context, it remains to be hoped that President Trump’s negotiators assigned to the reopening and renegotiation of NAFTA will ignore their boss’s prejudices. We are crossing our fingers to strictly adhere to statistics on exports and imports and to the real conditions in which trade between the three countries is bathed.
After milk, what other Canadian products are likely to be affected by President Trump’s commercial prejudice? Softwood lumber, oil, automotive, aeronautics, pharmaceutical, agricultural products, paper …
That said, contrary to what we think, it is Justin Trudeau who should have the big stick in this commercial war that Donald Trump wants to deliver.
Why? Because the United States has a positive balance of US $ 8 billion in trade in goods and services between the two countries.
According to the latest trade statistics reported by the US Census Bureau and the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, exports of goods and services to Canada totaled US $ 321.6 billion in 2016, while imports from here Amounted to US $ 313.5 billion.
And Mr. Trudeau should remind Mr. Trump that these American statistics are not “alternative facts”.
Let Canada stand!