Opinion / The Wedge

U.S. ISOLATIONISM EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO CANADA

By MAGGIE M, Wedgee-in-Chief, Editor, the wedge.LIVE

The Trump-Trudeau-Trade-Tit-For-Tat war ensues with July 1st as the kick-off date to our tariffs imposed on U.S. imports into Canada on everything from steel and aluminium through the oddest categories, gherkin pickles and ball point pens.

President Trump’s 25% tariff on Canadian steel and 10% on our aluminium kicks in at midnight, Thursday. We export 50% of these metals to our Southern neighbors. This is going to sting our industries–our economy.

It’s worse than that.

Canadian officials are hoping Trump will back-off; but, I would not hold my breath. I guarantee you, he is not done with tariffs. First, he aimed at oil independence falling back on massive oil shale finds in North Dakota. Now, he aims squarely at its ten smelters incentivized to upgrade and increase production within its borders. What’s next? Wood? Wheat? Potash? Cars?

U.S. economic policy presents an existential threat to our nation.

There were many, many warnings throughout his campaign and early in his presidency.

Trump is a nationalist, a mega-protectionist. His MAGA campaign speaks volumes about U.S. self-sufficiency. He does not give a rodent’s derriere about the collateral damage beyond U.S.

Our PM can rhapsodize about our relationships, our ties, with all the drama the press relishes. Even if we put a big tariff on everything–I mean everything–it will likely not have any effect.

This is not political. It’s Trump business, putting America first. You can’t throw diplomacy at this.

The European Union and Mexico are also subject to this tariff; so, this is not a hit on Canada exclusively. Argentina, Brazil, Australia and South Korea are exempt–on this wave. We need to examine this fact–what drives these exemptions.

Canada needs to set its sights on other trading partners–fast. Build from within. And do any wheeling-and-dealing while we reset our dynamics.

I listened to many pundits, reporters and even our PM. It is hard to find the cold, hard truth. Here is a real, simple analysis of our present-day problems with U.S. :

These chess moves are gonna sting both sides of the border. For U.S. it will be a finger-prick in comparison. Prices will go up. Supply will dry up. Jobs will be lost. I can’t list the corollary outcomes as U.S. incrementally seeks economic independence. Unless we go to Plan B. Do we have one? Because whining on camera is not a plan.

U.S. is no longer our big, caring sibling next door. The sooner we face that, the stronger we will be.

The list of tariffs at 10% on US imports is long:

  • Yogourt
  • Coffee, roasted: Not decaffeinated
  • Prepared meals: Of spent fowl; Specially defined mixtures
    Other: Specially defined mixtures, other than in cans or glass jars; Spent fowl other than in cans or glass jars
  • Prepared meals, of bovine – Other prepared or preserved meat of bovine, other than in cans or glass jars
  • Maple sugar and maple syrup
  • Liquorice candy; Toffee
  • Other sugar confectionery (including white chocolate), not containing cocoa.
  • Other chocolate, in blocks, slabs or bars: Filled
  • Other chocolate, in blocks, slabs or bars: Not filled
  • Pizza and quiche
  • Cucumbers and gherkins
  • Strawberry jam
  • Nut purées and nut pastes, berry purées, other fruit purées other than banana purée, other jams, jellies
  • Orange juice: Not frozen, of a Brix value not exceeding 20
  • Soya sauce
  • Tomato ketchup and other tomato sauces
  • Prepared mustard
  • Mayonnaise, salad dressing, mixed condiments and mixed seasonings, other sauces
  • Soups and broths and preparations therefor
  • Waters, including mineral waters and aerated waters, containing added sugar or other sweetening matter or flavoured
  • Whiskies
  • Manicure or pedicure preparations
  • Hair lacquers
  • Pre-shave, shaving or after-shave preparations
  • Preparations for perfuming or deodorizing rooms, including odoriferous preparations used during religious rites
  • Organic surface-active products and preparations for washing the skin, in the form of liquid or cream and put up for retail sale, whether or not containing soap
  • Automatic dishwasher detergents
  • Other candles and tapers and the like not including those for birthdays, Christmas or other festive occasions
  • Products suitable for use as glues or adhesives, put up for retail sale as glues or adhesives, not exceeding a net weight of 1 kg
  • Insecticides: In packages of a gross weight not exceeding 1.36 kg each
  • Fungicides: In packages of a gross weight not exceeding 1.36 kg each
  • Herbicides, anti-sprouting products and plant-growth regulators: In packages of a gross weight not exceeding 1.36 kg each
  • Other sacks and bags (including cones) of polymers of ethylene
  • Other sacks and bags (including cones) of other plastics
  • Tableware and kitchenware
  • Household articles and hygienic or toilet articles, of plastics
  • Plywood, consisting solely of sheets of wood (other than bamboo), each ply not exceeding 6 mm thickness: Other, with both outer plies of coniferous wood
  • Other plywood, veneered panels and similar laminated wood
  • Other paper and paperboard, not containing fibres obtained by a mechanical or chemi-mechanical process or of which not more than 10% by weight of the total fibre content consists of such fibres: Weighing 40 g/m² or more but not more than 150 g/m², in sheets with one side not exceeding 435 mm and the other side not exceeding 297 mm in the unfolded state
  • Other paper and paperboard coated, impregnated or covered with plastics (excluding adhesives)
  • Toilet paper
  • Handkerchiefs, cleansing or facial tissues and towels
  • Tablecloths and serviettes
  • Bobbins, spools caps and similar supports of a kind used for winding textile yarn, of paper pulp, paper or paperboard (whether or not perforated or hardened)
  • Other bobbins, spools caps and similar supports of paper pulp, paper or paperboard (whether or not perforated or hardened)
  • Printed or illustrated postcards; printed cards bearing personal greetings, messages or announcements, whether or not illustrated, with or without envelopes or trimmings.
  • Beer kegs, of iron or steel, of a capacity of 50 litres or more
  • Beer kegs, of iron or steel, of a capacity of less than 50 litres
  • Parts of iron or steel, of stoves, ranges, grates, cookers (including those with subsidiary boilers for central heating), barbeques, braziers, gas-rings, plate warmers and similar non-electric domestic appliances
  • Aluminum bars, rods and profiles
  • Aluminum wire
  • Aluminum plates, sheets and strip, of a thickness exceeding 0.2 mm
  • Aluminum foil (whether or not printed or backed with paper, paperboard, plastics or similar backing materials) of a thickness (excluding any backing) not exceeding 0.2 mm
  • Aluminum tubes and pipes
  • Aluminum tube or pipe fittings (for example, couplings, elbows, sleeves)
  • Aluminum structures (excluding prefabricated buildings of heading 94.06) and parts of structures (for example, bridges and bridge-sections, towers, lattice masts, roofs, roofing frameworks, doors and windows and their frames and thresholds for doors, balustrades, pillars and columns); aluminum plates, rods, profiles, tubes and the like, prepared for use in structures
  • Aluminum reservoirs, tanks, vats and similar containers, for any material (other than compressed or liquefied gas), of a capacity exceeding 300 litres, whether or not lined or heat-insulated, but not fitted with mechanical or thermal equipment
  • Aluminum casks, drums, cans, boxes and similar containers (including rigid or collapsible tubular containers), for any material (other than compressed or liquefied gas), of a capacity not exceeding 300 litres, whether or not lined or heat-insulated, but not fitted with mechanical or thermal equipment
  • Aluminum containers for compressed or liquefied gas
  • Stranded wire, cables, plaited bands and the like, of aluminum, not electrically insulated
  • Table, kitchen or other household articles and parts thereof, of aluminum; pot scourers and scouring or polishing pads, gloves and the like, of aluminum; sanitary ware and parts thereof, of aluminum
  • Other articles of aluminum
  • Combined refrigerator-freezers, fitted with separate external doors
  • Instantaneous or storage water heaters, non-electric: Other than instantaneous gas water heaters
  • Other dish washing machines, other than of the household type
  • Mowers for lawns, parks or sports-grounds: Powered, with the cutting device rotating in a horizontal plane
  • Household or laundry-type washing machines, each of a dry linen capacity not exceeding 10 kg: Fully-automatic machines
  • Household or laundry-type washing machines, each of a dry linen capacity exceeding 10 kg
  • Boards, panels, consoles, desks, cabinets and other bases, equipped with two or more apparatus of heading 85.35 or 85.36, for electric control or the distribution of electricity, including those incorporating instruments or apparatus of Chapter 90, and numerical control apparatus, other than switching apparatus of heading 85.17
  • Inflatable boats
  • Sailboats, with or without auxiliary motor
  • Motorboats, other than outboard motorboats
  • Outboard motorboats, other vessels for pleasure or sports, nes
  • Automatic regulating or controlling instruments and apparatus
  • Other seats, with wooden frames: Upholstered
  • Mattresses of cellular rubber or plastics, whether or not covered
  • Mattresses of other materials
  • Sleeping bags
  • Other bedding and similar articles, nes
  • Playing cards
  • Ball point pens
  • Felt tipped and other porous-tipped pens and markers

Then of course there is a 25% tariff on secondary steel manufacturing.

Link to list : https://www.fin.gc.ca/activty/consult/cacsap-cmpcaa-eng.asp

U.S. did not blink. There is no outcry on their networks.

It is interesting that the products we do not make ourselves from steel and aluminium are on our list. Maybe we should start investing in a manufacturing base–again.

If there ever was a case for nationalism this is it. Distance from markets is costly.

Alberta’s economy has been decimated with countless disasters. Those equalization payments now insolvent Ontario relied on are a thing of the past.

“Where to Captain?” Where no Canadian has gone before.


UPDATE JUNE 9, 2018

White House video of Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump in seemingly agreeable state-of-mind:

That’s all there is so far. Mutual schmoozing for the cameras although Justin’s supine position and ebullience is ironic after his famous reluctant handshake in the White House.

Make no mistake. This is serious. And leaving the business world with this video falls way short of the urgency in this matter. No one is laughing. Everyday we wait our economy oozes untold loss.

It’s not time to talk about Justin’s socks, but a humble quiet blue pair was in order.

Today Trump is on his way to meet Kim Jong-Un in Singapore. I imagine this is occupying his thoughts. Just before his departure he spoke on the tariffs.

To quote him, he prefers, “zero tariffs, zero barriers and subsidies.” So, all nations are on notice.

EVENING UPDATE:

President Trump must have tweeted from Air Force One and it’s not good:

Screen Shot 2018-06-09 at 7.22.08 PM

As I wrote above, Trump is now going after other industries. He mentioned dairy at the G7 and now automobiles. The trade war between our two countries has worsened.

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