Canada rallying U.S. politicians, businesses to battle Trump on trade

June 13, 2018

The Canadian government is leading a multipronged effort to enlist U.S. politicians and businesses in a fight against punitive import taxes U.S. President Donald Trump has slapped on steel and aluminum from Canada.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland will use a visit to Washington this week to meet with the U.S. Senate foreign affairs committee, chaired by Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, a staunch opponent of the steel and aluminum tariffs.

Ms. Freeland announced on Tuesday she is also trying to arrange a meeting with U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer, her counterpart in talks on the North American free-trade agreement, during this two-day trip to Washington. It has been two weeks since the White House stalled NAFTA renegotiations by insisting on an expiry date for any new NAFTA deal, and more than 12 days since the Trump administration imposed hefty tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum imports in the name of national security...

Mr. Corker is a good ally for Ms. Freeland. Last week, he proposed legislation that would require Congress to approve any tariffs levied under U.S. trade law’s Section 232. That is the national security provision the President used to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union, and to threaten further tariffs on cars and trucks.

Despite a free-trade consensus among congressional Republicans, Mr. Corker’s bill is the first concrete step the GOP has taken to try to rein in Mr. Trump. Other Republican members of Congress have been reluctant to support it and Mr. Trump has pushed Mr. Corker to withdraw the bill.

Mr. Corker on Tuesday accused other free-trade Republicans of fearing that defying Mr. Trump would cost them their re-election...

This was excerpted from 12 June 2018 edition of The Globe and Mail.

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Rules of Origin & Trade Agreements / Trade Agreements
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