Canadian Ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton says citing national security to justify tariffs is problematic.
(Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press) Donald Trump is a difficult man to predict, and Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. was in New Brunswick to brief the premiers on relations between the two countries.
He joins The House to talk about trade, Trump and Canada’s role in all of it. 8:13 Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. says President Donald Trump’s repeated citing of national security to justify tariffs on Canada is wrong.
David MacNaughton told The House he’s made Canada’s position on that matter clear: if Trump continues to use Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act to trigger investigations, it will be perceived as crying wolf.
“I can’t imagine how you could use national security as a guise for imposing illegal tariffs on another country,” he said Thursday.
Trump has used that justification several times over the course of imposing tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. He has also floated the notion of imposing duties on cars, and on Wednesday the U.S. Department of Commerce announced a Section 232 investigation into imports of uranium. Canada is the second-largest producer of uranium in the world and a major supplier to the U.S. market. While MacNaughton conceded there are legitimate security threats from foes of the U.S., he said Canada “doesn’t fit in that category.” The national security investigations and tariffs come as Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are working toward a new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Talks have snagged on a few key issues, such as rules for the auto sector and a sunset clause that would see the deal expire after a set period of time. Canada has said from the start that an expiry date is a non-starter, but MacNaughton said negotiators have been open to a review mechanism. Multilateralism has proved to be a difficult subject for Trump, as he’s pushed for bilateral deals with Canada and Mexico instead of a three-way deal. That mentality doesn’t seem to be going away. It comes as the U.S. Department of Commerce holds a public hearing on whether imported cars are what Trump claims they are: a national security threat. 2:26 “I think the president has been pretty consistent in his distaste for multilateral deals,” MacNaughton said. In line with the messaging from other Canadian officials, he added that a lot of progress has been made on the negotiations. However, he acknowledged there are still a lot of “contentious issues” and if a middle ground isn’t found on the auto sector demands, it could be catastrophic. MacNaughton spoke to The House before briefing premiers and territorial leaders on Canada-U.S. relations at their annual Council of the Federation meeting in New Brunswick Thursday morning
As relations between Canada and its largest trading partner break down, MacNaughton said the premiers have played an important role in protecting the country’s interests. Even though there are disagreements between the provinces, he said the premiers seem firmly committed to a Canada-first approach. “There are going to be areas where we have differences of opinion, but on this one the unity has been terrific,” he said. Donald Trump is a difficult man to predict, and Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. was in New Brunswick to brief the premiers on relations between the two countries. He joins The House to talk about trade, Trump and Canada’s role in all of it. 8:13
Culled from CBA. CA news