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Dec 16, 2021
Trudeau orders top ministers to take harder line on U.S. trade
Ban on potato exports has become a trade issue that is losing the industry $2M per week: Farmer
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is instructing his top economic ministers to take tough positions on trade issues amid growing disputes with the U.S., potentially signaling a more protectionist approach from Canada.
The marching orders were contained in mandate letters to cabinet ministers released Thursday afternoon, nearly three months after Trudeau was re-elected to a third term in September.
The letters to Canada’s finance, trade and procurement ministers all included language that could be seen as a veiled threat to counter Buy American policies put forward by President Joe Biden’s administration -- a notable change of tone from a prime minister who has been a strong proponent of open trade.
Freeland’s mandate letter sets out a reciprocal procurement policy that “will ensure goods and services are procured from countries that grant Canadian businesses a similar level of market access.”
Trade Minister Mary Ng’s mandate letter calls on her to “engage the United States to address bilateral trade issues and protectionist measures.”
Procurement Minister Filomena Tassi, meanwhile, was instructed to “continue the modernization of procurement practices so they support Canada’s economic policy goals, including balanced procurement opportunities with Canada’s trading partners.”
Over the past few weeks, Canada and the U.S. have clashed over Biden’s push to grant addition tax rebates for electric vehicles built by unionized American workers and proposed Canadian legislation to levy a new tax on U.S.-based digital giants. Increased U.S. duties on softwood lumber and a halt to shipments of potatoes from Atlantic Canada are also causing friction.
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