BMD and Canada

‘A big joke’: Only imperfect U.S. defences can save Canada from North Korean missiles

Published Tuesday, September 19, 2017 6:26AM EDT

If North Korea launched a dozen nuclear weapons at North America the U.S. missile defences probably would not be able to stop them all, and they wouldn’t be required to defend Canada, either.

Canada currently has no means of defending against an incoming intercontinental ballistic missile, and no formal guarantee that the United States would use its missile defences on Canada’s behalf. In fact, Canada declined to work with the United States on its missile defence program in 2005, and has not reversed course under subsequent Liberal and Conservative governments. And with North Korea now claiming it can strike a target anywhere in the continental U.S., Canada is technically defenceless against such an attack.

“It’s a big joke,” said Christian Leuprecht, a political science professor at the Royal Military College of Canada and senior fellow at the Macdonald Laurier Institute. “Canada is too vulnerable in not buying into ballistic missile defence,” he told CTVNews.ca.

Leuprecht points out that the U.S. and Canada have an information-sharing agreement in place through their participation in the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD. However, that agreement does not include a specific plan for dealing with a missile headed toward Canada.

In other words, Canadian military personnel at NORAD might be able to spot an incoming missile, but the decision to try and shoot that missile down rests entirely with the Americans.

NORAD’s Canadian deputy commander, Lt.-Gen Pierre St-Amand, echoed that sentiment in September, saying that under the current policy the U.S. would not come to Canada’s defence.

“It’s not that Canada is a target, but the danger  is… if those missiles are coming over the pole, they may be aimed at Chicago but they wind up in Toronto,” Colin Robertson, vice president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said on CTV News Channel Sept. 14.

NORAD

The Charlie crew, made up of U.S. and Canadian military personnel, work the night shift Jan. 18, 2006, at the NORAD command center in Cheyenne Mountain, Colo. (AP / Denver Post, John Epperson)

But arms control expert and UBC political science professor Allen Sens says the direct threat to Canada is a “red herring,” because the Americans would likely shoot down an incoming missile anyway.

“When a missile is in its flightpath, it’s difficult to determine exactly where it’s going to land,” Sens, of the University of British Columbia, told CTVNews.ca. Sens also cast doubt on the notion that the U.S. would back off with its missile defences once it learned that the weapon was headed for Canada.

“The Americans don’t want a missile to hit Canada because the Americans could be impacted,” he said.

The North Korean threat has renewed debate in Ottawa over whether Canada should participate in the U.S. missile defence program. Canada’s recently-released defence policy does not specifically address missile defence, although it does acknowledge the dangers of North Korea’s burgeoning arsenal.

“The number of countries with access to ballistic missile technology, including some with the potential to reach North America or target Canadian and allied deployed forces, has increased and is expected to grow and become more sophisticated,” the policy says.

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan has said the missile defence issue will be revisited as part of efforts to modernize NORAD.

“We’re going to have a much more thorough discussion with the U.S. on this,” Sajjan told CTV’s Question Period in June.

Those who oppose missile defence argue that it can be a cause for escalation, prompting rival countries to build more nukes so they can maintain the ability to overwhelm American defences. Essentially, greater defences call for greater offensive capabilities.

With the political debate only just ramping up, Leuprecht says it’s unclear what it would cost for Canada to buy into missile defence. “Technologically, no additional material would be required,” he said.

However, it is possible that the U.S. would ask Canada to pay for it, Leuprecht said.

And as many experts have pointed out, the primary U.S. missile defence system simply can’t guarantee protection with its success rate of just 55 per cent in controlled tests.

How the U.S. missile defence system works

Although it’s often characterized as a “shield,” the United States isn’t actually protected by some kind of sci-fi force field. Instead, it relies on missiles intended to intercept and destroy incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles before they detonate over a populated area.

The flight of an incoming missile is broken down into three stages.

The first stage is called the boost phase, during which the enemy ICBM takes off from its launch site, shedding its boosters one at a time as their fuel is expended. The missile is particularly vulnerable at this stage, as it spends about four minutes to work itself up to a speed of about 24,000 kilometres per hour. This is the best time to shoot it down, but since these launches usually occur in enemy territory and without warning, it can be difficult to detect it and respond to it in time, Leuprecht says.

Next comes the midcourse phase, which can last up to 20 minutes. During this phase the missile starts coasting up toward the peak of its arc (approximately 1,000 kilometres up).This is when the warhead might also release decoys to confuse any attempt to intercept the real nuke.

The missile’s final descent toward its target is known as the terminal phase, and usually only lasts about two minutes.

How a three-stage ICBM works

The U.S. missile defence system, perhaps best described as trying to stop an enemy bullet by shooting it with another bullet, uses short- and medium-range missiles. Each of these defensive missiles is a single-booster rocket used to deploy a “kill vehicle,” which manoeuvres itself into a collision course with incoming warheads so it can destroy them on impact.

how ballistic missile interceptors work

The system uses radar posts and satellite imagery to constantly update the kill vehicle’s trajectory, despite its travelling at supersonic speeds.

Radar

In this photograph provided by Boeing, the Sea-Based X-Band Radar, a key component of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, completes sea trial testing in the Gulf of Mexico July 16, 2005. (AP / Missile Defense Agency)

Most of the Americans’ missile defences are geared toward intercepting missiles in the midcourse or terminal phases, with various weapons systems providing overlapping coverage to defend the North American coast and America’s Asian allies.

Aegis

This file photo from May 10, 2012, shows a test of the Aegis missile defence system aboard the USS Lake Erie. (AP / Missile Defense Agency)

The Ground-based Midcourse Defence (GMD) system based in Alaska and California offers long-range intercept capability during the midcourse and terminal phases, while sea-based Aegis missiles and land-based PAC-3 missiles provide back-up defence during the terminal phase.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system is also designed to take out incoming missiles in the terminal phase, although it’s geared more toward short- and medium-range attacks against Japan, Guam or South Korea.

Leuprecht says this overlapping system might be quite effective at taking down a single incoming missile, because it can make numerous attempts at intercepting an ICBM before it strikes. But if North Korea were to launch a dozen missiles, for instance, there would be no way to ensure they were all shot down.

“The North Koreans are working on the ability to overwhelm those missile defence shields,” he said.

Poking holes in the U.S. defence ‘shield’

The Americans currently have THAAD defences deployed in South Korea and Guam, Aegis missiles on their destroyers in the Pacific, and at least 36 GMD missiles ready to launch from bases in Alaska and California.

However, defence experts don’t agree about the effectiveness of the American missile defence system. Some say the testing process is not scientifically sound, while others stand by the official results released by the U.S. military.

The Americans’ cutting-edge THAAD system is considered the best element of their arsenal, with a perfect 15-15 testing record. However, those trials were conducted under controlled non-combat conditions, and are geared toward shooting down shorter-range missiles that might strike at North Korea’s neighbours.

THAAD

The THAAD missile defence system is seen at a golf course in Seongju, South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. (Kim Jun-beom/Yonhap via AP)

The U.S. Ground-Based Midcourse Defence system has only taken out 10 of 18 targets in tests since 1999 – a result that leaves much to be desired, especially when imagining a nuclear weapon on the end of an incoming ICBM.

GMD

This image provided by the U.S. Air Force shows the successful launch Friday Sept. 28, 2007 of an intercontinental ballistic missile interceptor at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (AP / USAF / Joe Davila)

The Pentagon acknowledged this shortcoming in a 2016 report, which concluded that the GMD system “demonstrated a limited capability to defend the U.S. homeland from small numbers of simple intermediate-range or intercontinental ballistic missile threats launched from North Korea or Iran.”

According to the report, the GMD failed its tests for a variety of reasons, while radar availability was also found to be an issue with its effectiveness. “The reliability and availability of the (ground-based interceptors) are low,” the Pentagon said.

Leuprecht says the U.S. system leaves something to be desired, but that’s intentional. He says it must be able to defend against North Korea or Iran, but not against nuclear superpowers such as China or Russia, because peace with those nations is partially built on the awareness that both sides could destroy each other in a nuclear conflict.

“The system can defend against North Korea, but the system can’t defend against the Russians,” Leuprecht said. “It’s mutually assured destruction.”

He added that North Korea is working on the ability to overwhelm the U.S. missile defence shield with sheer numbers, but it remains a long way off from that goal.

However, North Korea’s more immediate neighbours in Japan and South Korea are not so safe.

PAC3

The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force demonstrates the training to utilize the PAC-3 surface-to-air interceptors at the U.S. Yokota Air Base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. (AP / Eugene Hoshiko)

Leuprecht says the North is already fully capable of annihilating the South Korean capital of Seoul, regardless of whether or not it uses nuclear weapons. The North has been perfecting its short- and medium-range missiles for years, and could easily overwhelm the THAAD system in South Korea with those weapons.

“That would mean 10 million dead in the first hour of a conflict,” Leuprecht said.

That threat has existed on the Korean peninsula for years, but what Kim Jong Un really wants is to extend the threat to include North America.

He adds that, if North Korea ever did strike at North America, NATO’s member nations would all be drawn into the conflict. “They know,” he said. “If there’s a missile that flies toward North America, it’s going to be ‘all in.’”

Can Trump pull USA from NAFTA

Can Donald Trump pull the U.S. out of NAFTA all on his own?

Some lawyers say withdrawal without congressional approval would be unconstitutional, but the politics of the play might be another matter

CHARLESTON, WV - MAY 05: United States Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump models a hard hat in support of the miners during his rally at the Charleston Civic Center on May 5, 2016 in Charleston, West Virginia. Trump became the Republican presumptive nominee following his landslide win in indiana on Tuesday.(Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images)

Listening to President Donald Trump, or reading his Twitter musings, sure leaves the impression he claims unfettered power to yank the United States clear of the North American Free Trade Agreement whenever he feels like it. “I think we’ll end up probably terminating NAFTA at some point, okay?” Trump said in a rambling late-summer speech in Phoenix. He followed up with this classic Trumpian Tweet: “We are in the NAFTA (worst trade deal ever made) renegotiation process with Mexico & Canada. Both being very difficult, may have to terminate?”

A superficial reading of NAFTA lends some support to the notion that Trump might have the power to act on his bluster. The deal among Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, which came into force in 1994, does include Article 2205, which lets any of the three countries back out on six-months notice. And, since U.S. presidents have broad power over foreign affairs, that might seem to be Trump’s clause to trigger. Indeed, some trade experts read it that way—but others see it differently.

READ MORE: NAFTA: A brief historyFor instance, Riyaz Dattu, of the law firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt in Toronto, says Trump’s problem is that while presidents negotiate trade deals, Congress passes the laws to make them a reality in the U.S. “President Trump would have to get Congress to repeal the [NAFTA] provisions that were written into U.S. law,” Dattu says. He concedes, though, that the potential clash over presidential and congressional clout when it comes to quitting a trade deal is “an area that has not been tested.” Trade and constitutional lawyers on both sides of the border agree that if Trump tried to act unilaterally, a court battle would likely ensue, perhaps ending up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

That assumes, however, sufficient political will among Trump’s foes to fight him over NAFTA. Colin Robertson, a former diplomat with long experience in the U.S., who has analyzed the new NAFTA talks in depth for the Ottawa-based Canadian Global Affairs Institute, predicts Trump would carry the day. “In a practical sense, if he says, ‘I’m pulling the plug,’ I don’t think there will be enough pressure in Congress to question his authority,” he says.

RELATED: NAFTA: What each country wants out of a new deal

Still, Robertson says potent U.S. domestic forces have already pulled Trump back from the brink once when he was close to trying to exit the agreement on his own say-so alone. When his administration was approaching its 100th day in power last April, rumours spread that he was contemplating a hasty NAFTA withdrawal. The U.S. farm lobby weighed in with the White House against that precipitous move, Robertson says, and succeeded. NAFTA supporters hope that if Trump again came close to abrogating, domestic forces would rally once more rally to persuade him to retreat.

If not, the question of Trump’s unilateral power to turn his anti-NAFTA rhetoric into reality will stop being an intriguing debating point for lawyers, and turn into a matter of massive real-world implications for a continental economy.

Comments Off on Can Trump pull USA from NAFTA

NAFTA Negotiaions

Colin Robertson was also on CGTN to give the Canadian perspective on how NAFTA renegotiation may turn out:

Colin_Aug_25_2.JPG
You can watch that interview Here.

Colin Robertson joined CTV News Network to give commentary on the first round of NAFTA talks:

Colin_Aug_25.JPG
You can watch that interview Here.

Provincial News

Support within U.S. key to successful NAFTA renegotiation

  • Corwyn Friesen, mySteinbach
  • Posted on 08/21/2017 at 11:00 am

The Vice President of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute says strong American support for NAFTA, particularly within the agricultural community, will play an important role in the renegotiation of agreement.

Canadian, U,S. and Mexican negotiators completed the first round of talks yesterday aimed at revamping North American Free Trade Agreement.

Colin Robertson, the Vice President and a Fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, says strong support within the United States for the agreement will be an important factor.

What ever agreement that the Trump Administration negotiates will be subject to an up or down vote in the American Congress, in the House of Representatives and the Senate so it is important for us and we have made a sustained effort along with the Mexicans over the past six months to remind Americans at the local level why trade with Canada works for Americans.

We start of with what is Mr. Trump’s principal objective and that’s to create jobs. We point out that the Canada, United States, Mexico agreement accounts for roughly 14 million jobs in the United States. The trade with Canada and Mexico makes that possible.

Most Americans have not appreciated that fact but now we’re reminding them on a kind of daily basis and certainty we use every occasion when a minister or a legislator or a premier and this has been an all of Canada effort to do so. It’s not just been the federal government ministers that have been going down to the United States.

It’s been also Premiers, provincial legislators, business persons and those in the farm community for example have been very diligent over the last few years in working the various farm bureaus and going to state fairs just to remind them that trade with Canada creates wealth and jobs in the United States.

~ Colin Robertson, Canadian Global Affairs Institute

Robertson observes we have had a very good response from the Americans. He notes the Governor of Nebraska, during a recent visit to Canada, pointed out Canada is the number one export market for 35 American states.

Comments Off on NAFTA Negotiaions

NAFTA Talks Begin

Former Canadian diplomat: We shouldn’t be under the impression that NAFTA talks will be easy

Colin Robertson, who is VP & Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, a former Canadian diplomat, and was a member of the team that negotiated the first NAFTA deal, joins BNN to provide his perspective as NAFTA talks begin.

 http://www.bnn.ca/video/former-canadian-diplomat-we-shouldn-t-be-under-the-impression-that-nafta-talks-will-be-easy~1188468

Nafta Talks Open With Spat Over How to Resolve Tariff Conflicts

By Paul Vieira in Ottawa, William Mauldin in Washington and Anthony Harrup in Mexico City Features Dow Jones Newswires

Talks to remake the North American Free Trade Agreement are starting off today with an early dispute — over how to settle disputes.

Under Nafta, the U.S., Mexico and Canada have resolved tariff conflicts by submitting them to expert panels that can sustain or overturn tariffs. The system has helped guide the trilateral relationship for 23 years.

Now the U.S. wants to do away with those dispute-resolution panels, while Canada is digging in on its insistence that they are a crucial tool for Canadian firms to use to fight tariffs imposed by its powerful southern neighbor. Mexican senators have also called for retaining the mechanism.

Though the system for resolving tariff disputes is only one of many issues that U.S. officials are expected to put on the table in the talks that begin Wednesday in Washington, it is a particularly divisive one. For President Donald Trump, the panels’ power to overturn tariffs strikes at the heart of his “America First” trade policy and his campaign’s spirited defense of measures to protect U.S. industries against what he sees as unfair trade practices.

“This first session could be quite confrontational,” said Fred Bergsten, founder of the Peterson Institute of International Economics in Washington and a member of the U.S. advisory panel for trade negotiations. He expects the U.S. to put the issue on the negotiating table early in the process.

Without Chapter 19 — the portion of Nafta that creates the panels — disputes over tariffs would end up in national courts or before the World Trade Organization, a body the administration also views with skepticism.

The divide is worrying to business groups that want to ensure the talks stay on course. Major changes to Nafta have to be approved by all three countries’ leadership, plus their legislators. Business lobbyists and former trade officials say gridlock could lead to renewed threats from member countries to pull out of the deal or feed political opposition during election seasons.

The opening bids suggest a compromise won’t be easy.

“Canada absolutely stands very firm in the importance of having such a mechanism,” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said this week as she unveiled the country’s objectives ahead of the Nafta talks.

Similarly, Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said the current system provides a deterrent against the improper use of duties. Dismantling it could end up hurting exporters in all three countries, he told The Wall Street Journal in a recent interview.

A U.S. trade official told reporters Tuesday that Washington plans to “be quite ambitious in this first round.”

One question is whether the early rhetoric will give way to compromise once the give and take of the negotiations begin. Trade negotiations are all about compromise, and Chapter 19 could end up being a bargaining chip in a broader set of concessions each side seeks.

“Everything that’s released publicly is a negotiating position,” said Celeste Drake, a senior expert at the AFL-CIO, the biggest U.S. labor federation. “There is always a middle ground if negotiators are willing to work.”

U.S. labor groups tend to oppose Chapter 19, saying tariffs levied on the grounds of alleged dumping or subsidies can be challenged in the court system or through the WTO. Ms. Drake said the Trump administration should press hard to resolve differences with the other governments to achieve the best deal for workers.

Stephen Powell, a former senior counsel at the Commerce Department who has written extensively on the dispute-resolution process, said given the historical importance Canada places on Chapter 19, it would likely demand a “very large concession” for abandoning the system. “Canada can certainly insist on something very big, so can Mexico,” Mr. Powell said.

But for Mr. Trump and U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer, Chapter 19 symbolizes an erosion of sovereignty, since the panels have primarily been used to overturn tariffs imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department on Canadian and Mexican products. The issue is of particular note to Mr. Lighthizer, who spent about three decades as a Washington trade lawyer arguing for the types of tariffs that can be overturned under Chapter 19.

Mr. Lighthizer’s office in July left flexibility in most of its official objectives for Nafta talks, but it said clearly in the trade remedy section that it wanted to “eliminate the Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism.”

The third-party dispute system dates back to 1987, when President Ronald Reagan granted Canada’s demands for an independent resolution mechanism to salvage the U.S.-Canada free-trade pact, Nafta’s predecessor. The issue threatened to become a deal breaker 30 years ago, and it took the intervention of Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and U.S. Treasury Secretary James Baker to get resolved.

Colin Robertson, a Canadian negotiator at those 1987 talks, said Canada’s business community pushed for independent panels after years of amassing large legal bills unsuccessfully fighting U.S. trade sanctions in the American courts.

Since coming into force, nearly 150 Chapter 19 cases have been adjudicated, two-thirds of which were brought by either Canada or Mexico against the Commerce Department.

The rate at which countries are filing Chapter 19 cases has recently slowed, with panels having dealt with just over a dozen cases since 2010. Trade watchers say the falloff in cases stems in part from the greater U.S. focus on trade cases involving China, and illustrates how Nafta has ushered in greater integration across the North American economy, with firms owning assets in each of the three countries. “There’s no us versus them any more,” said Peter Glossop, trade lawyer with Toronto firm Osler Hoskin & Harcourt.

Canada hasn’t always had clear-cut wins in Chapter 19 cases, but some — most notably dealing with the decadeslong spat over lumber — have gone its way. Ottawa’s most recent win was in April, when an independent panel directed the U.S. Commerce Department to roll back the bulk of a proposed 20% tariff on a type of glossy magazine paper made by a mill in the Atlantic coast province of Nova Scotia. The U.S. claimed the mill unfairly benefited from power rates set by the province’s regulator, but the panel found that the U.S. offered little evidence to support its case.

“We certainly knew that with Chapter 19, all of the facts would be addressed by an independent panel…in a more fair manner,” said Marc Dubé, a senior manager at Port Hawkesbury Paper, the mill that faced the 20% duty.

Write to Paul Vieira at paul.vieira@wsj.com, William Mauldin at william.mauldin@wsj.com and Anthony Harrup at anthony.harrup@wsj.com

ThePoultrySite.com - news, features, articles and disease information for the poultry industry

As NAFTA Renegotiation Begins, Canada Feels Optimistic

17 August 2017

Manitoba Pork Council

Farm-Scape is sponsored by
Manitoba Pork Council and Sask PorkFarmScape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

CANADA – The Vice-President of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute says, with the renegotiation of NAFTA now underway, there’s good reason for Canadians to be optimistic, Bruce Cochrane reports.

The first round of negotiations aimed at renewing the North American Free Trade Agreement kicked off yesterday in Washington.

Colin Robertson, the Vice President and a Fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, says the fact that Canada is actually at the table is cause for optimism.

Colin Robertson-Canadian Global Affairs Institute

President Trump, running as candidate Trump, declared on many occasions that NAFTA was the worst trade deal ever negotiated and that on his first day in office he would tear it up.

He did, on his first day in office, shelve the Trans-Pacific Partnership which effectively was an updating of the NAFTA but done with 12 countries including Canada, Mexico and the United States.

But the NAFTA, I think there was serious consideration to indeed tearing it up, giving notice and it would have taken six months for the United States to pull out but, particularly the farm community in the United States, protested, came back and said look this is working for us.

We’re selling a lot of our produce to Canada and to Mexico so do no harm please.

I think that’s what helped persuade President Trump to renegotiate the agreement.

He has said that he has had conversations with both Prime Minister Trudeau and President Pena Nieto of Mexico.

As well there was opposition from both sides of the aisles up in Congress.

And, of course, to proceed into the renegotiation, he has had to seek the permission of Congress through the Trade Promotion Authority so we have a pretty clear sense of what the Americans are looking for.

The United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer submitted a list of objectives to Congress about a month ago and then, when he and his colleagues, Chrystia Freeland and Ildefonso Guajardo, the Mexican Trade Minister, opened the negotiations they spelled out what they were looking for as well.

Mr Robertson is confident Canada will have a good indication of how negotiations are going soon after each round.

Comments Off on NAFTA Talks Begin

NAFTA

Canada v Mexico: Trump seeks to divide and conquer in Nafta negotiations

Both countries are scrambling to best handle a president who ranks among the more unpredictable elements of the upcoming negotiations

Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump.
Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/AFP/Getty Images
 The rhetoric against a neighbouring country dominated Donald Trump’s presidential campaign: a billion-dollar wall, a crackdown on immigration, and a steep border tax. Yet when Trump fired the opening shot in his trade war, it was aimed not at Mexico – but at Canada.

First came an average 20% tariff on Canadian softwood lumber. Months later the Trump administration piled another tariff of nearly 7% on the sector.

Trump launched a broad attack on several sectors north of the border. “Canada, what they’ve done to our dairy farmworkers is a disgrace,” he told reporters. “We can’t let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers … included in there is lumber, timber and energy. So we’re going to have to get to the negotiating table with Canada very, very quickly.”

The sharp reversal – a few months earlier Trump had characterised the US-Canada relationship as “outstanding” – came as a surprise to many.

“Step aside, China and Mexico: Canada is now Donald Trump’s whipping-boy du jour on trade,” said the Canadian Press, while Politico offered their thoughts on why president had not gone after Mexico first: “Canada is an easy target and doesn’t have as many weapons to fight back.”

Others said it was long overdue. “Canada was getting a free ride,” said Federico Estévez, a professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico. “All of the fire was headed south of the US border – so Canada was getting off easy.”

Estévez pointed to the looming renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement to explain the turnaround. “I think Trump understood something basic, which is that the US will not be able to tweak Nafta or rework it unless it splits up Canada and Mexico and makes Canada squirm just as well,” he said. “You want to open up some battlefronts – and that’s what he’s effectively done, to the surprise of everybody.”

With the renegotiations slated to begin on 16 August, all of the interactions of past months – from pleasantries to attacks – are again under the microscope. Against a backdrop of grievances over trade deficits and protectionist policies, officials in both Canada and Mexico are also scrambling to shore up strategies to best handle a president who ranks among the more unpredictable elements of the upcoming negotiations.

Both countries have much at stake. Canada sends about three-quarters of its annual exports to the US while nearly 400,000 people a day cross the shared border. In Mexico, some 80% of exports end up in the US.

Mexican and Canadian officials have been laying the groundwork for months. Trudeau’s inner circle have fostered close contacts with the Trump administration, while representatives from Canadian government and business have been criss-crossing the US to reinforce how Americans benefit from their relationship with Canada, said Colin Robertson of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

“There have been, I think, 170 visits by Canadians to the States since January. And not just to Washington but also into Trump territory,” he said. “And it’s not just ministers, it’s legislators and premiers and provincial legislators.”

The aim, said Robertson, is to mitigate what he described as Trump’s “situational politics”, which see the president shift stances depending on the audience he’s addressing. He pointed to Trump’s swipe at Canadian dairy as an example, as it came while the president addressed an audience in Wisconsin.

In Mexico, the job of managing relations with the Trump administration has fallen to Luis Videgaray, a foreign minister whose experience in the world of finance has overlapped with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Despite initial setbacks – Trump signed an executive order to build the border wall and tweeted that Mexico would pay for it even as Videgaray was heading to Washington to meet with Kushner – the minister and his small team have earned some plaudits as the threat of Trump has apparently diminished for Mexico and the peso bounced back after a Trump-inspired slump.

So far, Mexico’s strategy for handling Trump seems to lie in trying to save some provisions of Nafta at all costs, such as investor protections, analysts say.

The government closed online consultations late last month, though it has attracted criticism for appearing to pay closer attention to the country’s big business elite while ignoring the interests of smaller firms and beleaguered workers.

“I’ve not read the national interests of Mexico spelled out,” said Carlos Heredia of the Centre for Research and Teaching of Economics. “There hasn’t been any sort of open consultation – the online consultation is sort of a joke – but there’s nothing saying, ‘We are going to represent the national interest of Mexico, not just the top echelons of business and politics.’”

Mexico released its objectives for Nafta negotiations last week. It joined Canada in opposing US plans to eliminate dispute resolution mechanism known as Chapter 19, but also will propose anti-graft initiatives and provisions for small business and the digital economy. Energy will also be on the table as Mexico approved a reform to open its oil industry in 2013.

From immigration to the environment, Trump’s political stances – widely despised in both Mexico and Canada – could colour discussions at the negotiating table, raising questions of how America’s neighbours will respond.

While Trudeau’s approval ratings remain high, suggesting many Canadians are comfortable with his reluctance to chastise Trump, Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto is even more unpopular than the US leader – and his apparent unwillingness to talk tough with Trump is widely as a weakness.

“The greatest problem of the Mexican response to Trump has been that the Mexican government has acted over and over again as if the constituency of its foreign policy were only one person: Donald Trump,” said Carlos Bravo Regidor of CIDE. “This has left it open to vulnerabilities, the most of important of which is an inability to voice the legitimate grievances Trump causes many regular Mexicans.”

Despite their differences, Trump has demonstrated a level of cordiality and friendship with Trudeau, said Laura Dawson, who heads the Canada Institute at Washington’s Wilson Centre.

“It’s kind of funny in the tweets that I’ve been reading. When he’s talking about his two neighbours, he calls them, Justin and the Mexican president,” she said. “I don’t know if he doesn’t know Trudeau’s last name, I don’t know if he knows Peña Nieto’s name at all – but its always Justin and the Mexicans.”

What’s certain is that Canada and Mexico now realise they’re in it together. “There was some public opinion, at least in Canada, that we could go at it alone, without Mexico because they’re in the crosshairs and we’re not. I think that that sentiment has really subsided,” said Dawson, pointing to official statements from both countries that reiterate the importance of the trilateral agreement.

While Trump has gone after both neighbours, he’s also demonstrated that he’s open to changing his mind on things, said Dawson.

“He’s willing to find a parade and get in front of it, so I think that if Canada and Mexico are skillful enough about giving the president some wins that he can claim – you know, modernisation of the agreement, certain things that affect labour or manufacturing – I think they can also move ahead on the modernisation agenda on the Nafta.”

Comments Off on NAFTA

Freeland Foreign Policy

Canada Says It Will Chart Its Own Course, Apart From U.S.

Foreign minister Chrystia Freeland expressed Canadian government discontent with U.S. protectionism and isolationism

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland delivered a speech on a shift in Canada’s foreign policy in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on June 6. Photo: Chris Wattie/Reuters

By

Paul Vieira

Updated June 6, 2017 5:51 p.m. ET

202 COMMENTS

OTTAWA—Canada signaled it would pursue foreign-policy objectives that are in contrast to the growing isolationism of the U.S., marking a shift away from its historic alignment with its neighbor and most important trading partner.

In a speech to the legislature on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland took the unusual step of expressing Canadian government discontent with the U.S., citing concerns about America’s growing protectionism, its withdrawal from the Paris climate-change agreement and the desire by its voters to “shrug off the burden of leadership” globally.

Canada plans to strengthen its military presence in the most dangerous parts of the world, Ms. Freeland said, and will on Wednesday release details on spending plans for a new defense policy. A boost in military spending and greater engagement would mark a departure for the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was elected on a campaign promise to end Canada’s direct combat role in the fight against Islamic State.

“To rely solely on the U.S. security umbrella would make us a client state,” she said. “Such a dependence would not be in Canada’s interest.…The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course,” Ms. Freeland said.

While Ms. Freeland didn’t name U.S. President Donald Trump, she left little doubt that she was talking about U.S. leadership as she described the distance between the Canadian government and Trump administration policies on global trade, climate change, the commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the pursuit of women’s rights, including access to safe abortions.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, embraced Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland in the House of Commons on June 6, after she delivered a speech about a shift in Canada’s foreign policy. Photo: Chris Wattie/Reuters

The remarks are the latest in a string of warnings from world leaders about the risks of U.S. isolationism. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe can no longer rely on other countries, underscoring her concern with U.S. policy such as Mr. Trump’s refusal to publicly back a core tenet of NATO, that an attack on one member is an attack on all.

Ms. Freeland said the principle, known as Article 5,  is “at the heart” of Canada’s security policy.

Ms. Freeland, who is also responsible for cross-border trade, highlighted Canada’s differences with the U.S. even as she faces renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, in talks scheduled to start in August. Mr. Trump was elected in part on a vow to revamp the trade pact incorporating the U.S., Canada and Mexico, which he has called a “disaster” and blamed for U.S. manufacturing job losses.

That criticism is misplaced, Ms. Freeland said. “It is wrong to view the woes of our middle class as the result of fiendish behavior by foreigners,” she said. “The real culprit is domestic policy that fails to appreciate that continued growth, and political stability, depend on domestic measures that share the wealth.”

The big surprise in the speech, observers say, was Ms. Freeland’s “strident endorsement” of a stronger Canadian military, said Colin Robertson, a former Canadian diplomat and now vice president at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, in Ottawa. “She gave every indication the government will make a robust investment in our security and defense,” he said.

Such an investment would move Canada closer to, although still below, the NATO target that member countries should spend 2% of gross domestic product on defense.

Last week, Mr. Trudeau joined Ms. Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron in publicly rebuking Mr. Trump for his decision last week to withdraw from the Paris climate-change accord.

Meanwhile, Mr. Trudeau and Ms. Merkel spoke by phone on Tuesday, at which time both Group of Seven leaders reiterated their commitment to multilateralism and the fight against climate change, according to a summary of the conversation released by Canadian officials.

They agreed to “continue working closely with like-minded partners to implement the historic Paris agreement on climate change,” the Canadian readout said.

—Jacquie McNish
contributed to this article.

Comments Off on Freeland Foreign Policy

Is Canada really back?

How Canada must navigate the new normal of global relationships

What does “Canada is back” really mean? Some answers will come this week in Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s foreign policy speech and in the release, overdue, of the Defence Policy Review.

Success will hinge on answering three questions:

• What are the priorities?

• How much new money will be invested?

• What are the means to achieve them?

From day one, the Trudeau government vigorously re-embraced multilateralism, declaring that Canada would seek a seat on the UN Security Council.

But a council seat is a means, not an end. Will Ms. Freeland spell out our electoral platform and tell us what we want to achieve? And what is happening with peace operations? Are we going to Mali?

The election of U.S. President Donald Trump has shaken the rules-based liberal international system in the same fashion that the tumbling of the Berlin Wall presaged the end of the Soviet Union.

It is too soon to tell whether President Trump’s changes will endure but, for now, as guardian of the order that it created the United States has gone AWOL.

Middle powers such as Canada need to step up to save our global operating system.

In the wake of Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord, we should focus on the practical side of climate mitigation through, for example, the open sharing of technological innovation achieved by Canada’s oil sands companies, coupled with more science diplomacy. Evidence-based research still matters.

The Trudeau Government has rightly made the U.S. relationship its top priority, shifting cabinet officers, connecting with the new administration, reaching out to Congress and, in its outreach into Trump territory, bringing in premiers and business to make the case for Canada. Our livelihood – and the government’s own re-election – depends on managing this relationship.

In response to Mr. Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” policies, Justin Trudeau is going full bore into trade diversification. His father did the same after Richard Nixon imposed a U.S. import surcharge in 1971. Pierre Trudeau’s third-option strategy was aimed, with limited success, at closer links with Europe and Japan.

Ms. Freeland brought home the Canada-Europe trade agreement. International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne is helping to resuscitate the Trans-Pacific Partnership and is leading talks with China. In renegotiating NAFTA, we are working with Mexico, our third-largest trading partner. Continental ties are also deepening through the Pacific Alliance.

We are good at trade policy. Now we need to invest more in trade development. We also need the infrastructure, especially pipelines, that get our resources to market.

Ms. Freeland is sure to mention the progressive trade agenda in her policy speech. It will take real form, with the addition of a chapter on gender to the Canada-Chile free-trade agreement, as part of the announcements during this week’s visit of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

It is a smart initiative. Women are steadily increasing their place in global business. Women are very good entrepreneurs when given the opportunity, as micro-financing has demonstrated in Asia and Africa.

A progressive trade agenda must also address trade adjustment.

Canada’s social safety net – medicare, pensions and unemployment insurance – helps shield us from the populism that propelled Mr. Trump to power but, as we witness in Europe, it does not guarantee immunity.

Addressing inequality would be a useful theme for Canada to champion as we host next year’s G7 summit and, in the meantime, we should make it a focus for collective attention in multilateral forums such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the International Labour Organization.

The Trudeau government has sustained our commitment to collective security, with a brigade headed to Latvia and a sustained naval presence in the Arabian Gulf. But there is a readiness gap as we await new warships and fighter jets. When it comes to defence, money matters.

Successive Canadian governments have skimped and we stand accused, with some justice, of “freeloading”. We should set as goals of good international citizenship a contribution of 2 per cent of GDP to defence spending – the NATO norm – and 0.7 per cent of GDP for development – the Pearson Commission standard. If the United Kingdom can manage it, so can Canada

Canadian foreign policy, like all middle powers, is inevitably reactive. Choices must be weighed against interests, values and resources. With effort and money, we can make a difference in the niches. This week will give us a better sense of the Trudeau niches.

Comments Off on Is Canada really back?

Climate and Trump

“If Mr. Trump does decide to pull out, then it is going to make it more difficult for us to proceed with the carbon pricing as Mr. Trudeau and the premiers have envisaged,” said Colin Robertson, who is now a vice president and fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, in an interview with BNN Monday.

“However, there is a lot going on at the next level down between provinces and states,” he added, using California as an example of a state taking a different approach on climate than Trump with its cap-and-trade system. “The relationship California has, for example, with Quebec and Ontario on cap-and-trade – that will proceed.”

The Paris Agreement, which took effect November 4, 2016 and saw 195 parties signing the agreement  with147 ratifying, aims to keep the global average temperature below 2 degrees celsius and to limit rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Robertson warned that the Canadian government and provinces need to be mindful of competitiveness when it comes to climate policy, but noted that many companies are already making changes with the environment in mind.

“My sense is the climate train has left the station around the world and even in the United States – particularly at the state level – there’s an awful lot going on,” Robertson said. “Companies are making decisions now in terms of the switch to natural gas from coal because it makes good economic sense.”

Over the weekend, Trump said in a tweet he would make a decision on the Paris accord sometime this week.

I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week!

Comments Off on Climate and Trump

NAFTA and Agriculture

ThePigSite.com - news, features, articles and disease information for the swine industry

Lobbying to Save NAFTA Proving Effective

18 May 2017

Manitoba Pork Council

Farm-Scape is sponsored by
Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

FarmScape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

CANADA – The Vice President of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute says lobbying efforts from both within the United States and from Canada and Mexico to salvage the North American Free Trade Agreement are showing results, Bruce Cochrane writes.

Since the election of US President Donald Trump the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement has been in question.

Colin Robertson, the Vice President and a Fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, observes trade is important to the United States, especially to US agriculture.

Colin Robertson-Canadian Global Affairs Institute

There was a faction within the White House, probably led by Mr Bannon and involving Peter Navarro who now heads his Trade and Industry Office in the White House, was encouraging the President to rescind the North American Free Trade Agreement but there was pushback from within the White House.

As within any administration there are various factions, led by probably Mr Cohn and Jared Kushner his son in law.

When word got out that this plan was to rescind the NAFTA, it was leaked up on Capitol Hill where the reaction was quite negative on both sides of the aisle.

Both Democrats and Republicans, Republicans like John McCain who chairs the important Armed Services Committee and most importantly within the farm community in what we would call Trump states, those states in the Midwest that voted for Mr Trump.

Ohio, Iowa Wisconsin, they pushed back and said no, don’t rescind the NAFTA because it’s working for us.

The agriculture community has responded to word that the NAFTA might be ending and this will play out.

This is not something that will be settled today.

This is like a moving picture.

We’re never sure on any day where things is going.

The Canadian and Mexican efforts to point out that trade works well not just for Mexico and Canada but for the United States, I think, is starting to show some result.

Mr Robertson remains optimistic.

He notes Canadian efforts to remind the Americans of how much trade with Canada matters to the United States have had an impact.

ThePigSite News Desk

Comments Off on NAFTA and Agriculture

Softwood Lumber

BALONEY METER: Canadian negotiations selectively optimistic

Andy Blatchford THE CANADIAN PRESS
May 18, 2017 – 6:43pmHistory tells tales of both parties adapting to neighbours

Comments Off on Softwood Lumber