G7 in Japan

Canada and Japan talk trade in lead up to G7 summit

JOHN IBBITSON

The Globe and Mail  Sunday, May 22, 2016 10:05PM EDT

Justin Trudeau arrives in Japan on Monday for a week of talks ending in a G7 summit that is darkened by stalled trade agreements, a rising tide of insurgent populism and the possibility that a President Donald J. Trump could attend next year.

The ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement may not make it through the U.S. Congress; both Hillary Clinton and Mr. Trump, the likely Democratic and Republican presidential nominees, spout protectionist rhetoric; Britain votes June 23 in a referendum on whether to leave the European Union (called “Brexit”); and political turmoil in Europe threatens the future of the EU itself.

“The returns on trade have not been translated onto the dining room table,” said Colin Robertson, a former Canadian diplomat and vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. Coupled with the uncertain recovery from the financial crisis of 2008-09, this has led, he believes, to a growing mood in both the United States and Europe that’s “anti-trade, anti-immigration, anti-big business, anti-establishment.”

Despite this, both Canada and Japan would like to reinvigorate their flagging trading relationship. Japan, once Canada’s second-largest trading partner, is now fifth. The two countries began free-trade negotiations in 2012, but put those talks on hold when they joined the ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership talks that included the United States and a raft of Pacific nations.

Now all parties are holding their breath to see whether the U.S. Congress will ratify the TPP, as it’s known, since both Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump say they oppose it. At the same time, populist politicians in both the United States (Mr. Trump on the right and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on the left) and in Europe threaten the existing order.

In Austria’s presidential election on Sunday, the candidate supported by the Greens and the candidate of the extreme right-wing Freedom Party each took half the vote, with no clear winner apparent. Nativist, nationalist, populist parties are on the rise from Poland to France.

“You’ve got an awful lot of unhappy, angry people out there,” noted John Manley, head of the Business Council of Canada. “All they know is that things haven’t gotten better for them and they’re not sure why, but trade is a pretty convenient target.”

Against this backdrop, Mr. Trudeau will be offering a message of hope at the G7: that sustained government spending, such as the Liberals’ 10-year, $120-billion infrastructure plan, can revive both growth and confidence. It’s a 180-degree turn from what Canada was saying under the austerity-minded leadership of former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper.

“I don’t think anything has changed to make the Canadian voice any more or less powerful today,” said Rohinton Medhora, president of the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ont. “What matters is what the Germans think in Europe, what the Americans think about these issues.”

But if Canada does not have much influence in the global debate over trade, it does have an enormous stake in the outcome. The Canadian economy depends on trade, so any reversal of the decades-old trend toward ever-freer trade puts Canadian jobs and Canadian prosperity at risk.

Mr. Manley said he believes there could also be opportunities. If the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement fails to be ratified, he is urging Mr. Trudeau to renew trade talks with Japan. “Canada has a rather unique opportunity to be a hub, rather than just one of the spokes,” he said, able to market itself as a conduit to both American and European markets.

All the more reason, Mr. Robertson urges, for Mr. Trudeau and International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland to hie themselves to Europe sooner rather than later to nail down ratification of the Canada-EU free-trade agreement.

G7 leaders are painfully aware that, should Donald Trump become U.S. president, the global order would be under enormous strain. Not only is Mr. Trump vehemently opposed to the TPP (and to the North American free-trade agreement), he is threatening to launch a trade war with China and has mooted withdrawing the American security umbrella protecting Japan and South Korea.

But Mr. Medhora remains hopeful. If the British vote to stay in Europe and the Americans elect Hillary Clinton, he observes, then the established order will remain largely intact. “A lot depends on what happens with Brexit and the U.S. elections.”

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Justin Trudeau’s internationalism after six months

What Trudeau needs to do to sustain international momentum

In most countries, a shift from the right to a centre-left government would mean significant policy change.

But this is Canada, a place where the political spectrum runs from F to M as opposed to A to Z, as a former U.S. ambassador once observed.

This is especially true in the broad arena of international policy, where the biggest change wrought by the Liberal majority victory has largely been in style and personality – from the dour and secretive Stephen Harper to the optimistic and open Justin Trudeau.

Actual policy – whether foreign, defence, trade or immigration – is mostly unchanged. The shifts, especially on climate and in the embrace of the 25,000 Syrian refugees, represent more of a restoration of traditional Canadian policies than real policy change, including a return to cabinet government and first ministers’ meetings.

There is also the promise of re-engagement with China – and the likelihood of a free trade agreement there – as well as re-establishing relations with Russia – beginning with our shared interests in the Arctic. It is clear that this government is progressive but pragmatic – as witnessed by its willingness to forge ahead with the $15-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Mr. Trudeau, more so than Mr. Harper, will be constantly gauging the public mood and appetite for change.

More than most nations, the Canadian sense of self depends on what we do and how we are seen to do internationally. About to mark six months since its election, the Trudeau government and its “sunny ways” enjoys broad support partly because of its visibly activist multilateralism.

But sustaining this momentum will require three things: care, commitment and cash.

The “bromance” with U.S. President Barack Obama should yield dividends on climate, border access and regulatory collaboration and, hopefully, a resolution on softwood lumber. But the Trudeau team’s outreach to congressional leadership must continue if we are to deflect the rising voices of protectionism.

Restoring a dialogue with Canada’s premiers should help advance our trade and climate goals. But deepening North American integration increasingly depends on initiative from state and provincial governments. Mr. Trudeau should invite premiers and governors to the upcoming North American leaders’ summit to showcase his commitment to both trade and climate change.

Before the summit can take place, the government has to deliver on its promise to lift visa requirements for Mexicans or President Enrique Peña Nieto will not come.

Similarly, international agenda overload is also a significant risk. Recognizing that what brings accolades internationally does not necessarily serve Canadian interests requires tough-minded decision-making. And then there is the ambitious domestic agenda: electoral reform, reconciliation with our indigenous peoples and, eventually, balancing the budget.

Getting this done will require considerable discipline and a senior civil service that is innovative and results-oriented. While there was no love lost between the Harper government and senior officials (mutual contempt best describes the relationship with the foreign service) there was comfort in compliance. Mr. Trudeau should not hesitate to make changes if he is to deliver on his agenda.

Finally, the Pearsonian internationalist reputation Mr. Trudeau aspires to restore depends on investments in hard power as well as soft power. We have yet to live down the reputation, as former foreign minister John Manley observed, of excusing ourselves to go to the washroom when the bill arrives.

For a new government, things have gone very well on the international circuit.

As a public relations device, Mr. Trudeau’s post-election message to the world that Canada is back as a “compassionate and constructive voice in the world” was catchy and clever. It clearly differentiated him from Mr. Harper’s mantra, that Canada would no longer “go along and get along with everyone else’s agenda.”

Mr. Trudeau’s multilateral meetings – G20, APEC, the Commonwealth, and then COP21 – went well, and the reviews from foreign chanceries were good, particularly for Canada’s “helpful fixing” during the Paris climate negotiations. At Davos, Mr. Trudeau impressed the plutocrats with his energy and his artful remarks about wanting Canadians to be known as much for our “resourcefulness” as our resources, although it is our resources that pay the bills.

From flattering profiles in Vogue and on 60 Minutes to the accolade of APEC “hottie,” no Canadian leader has enjoyed this kind of attention since Pierre Trudeau.

Justin Trudeau’s celebrity status will fade. If he wants to leave a legacy, he needs creative initiatives buttressed by solid investments in defence, development and diplomacy. As his friend Barack Obama will tell him, the sands of time run quickly.

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Trudeau Obama Summit

Discussing the potential agenda of the Trudeau-Obama White House meeting on Question Period with Laura Dawson, John Manley and host Robert Fife.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=823007

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 6.17.43 PM

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Trans Pacific Partnership, Canada and supply manageament

Canada’s commitment to freer trade about to be tested

Colin Robertson The Globe and Mail

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits the United States this week to talk trade and security with President Barack Obama. They will discuss access for Japanese autos and U.S. agricultural products, major sticking points in concluding TPP negotiations.

Meanwhile, the U.S. legislation giving Mr. Obama trade promotion authority to “fast track” the TPP through Congress moves closer to reality with its passage last week through the relevant House and Senate committees.

When Mr. Obama was elected, there was little expectation that trade liberalization would be part of the Obama legacy. Climate, immigration and health-care reforms were to be his signature achievements but not freer trade because it roiled labour unions and environmentalists – key elements of the Democrat base.

But in 2009, during his first trip to Asia, Mr. Obama embraced the freer trade pact, originally initiated in 2002 by New Zealand, Chile, Brunei and Singapore. With the United States aboard, Australia and then Peru, Vietnam and Malaysia signed on.

At the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Honolulu in November, 2011, Stephen Harper secured Mr. Obama’s consent for Canadian participation on the basis that supply management was negotiable. Mexico also joined the TPP talks and, later, Japan. South Korea and Taiwan have signalled their interest in TPP.

When negotiated, TPP will cover 40 per cent of world trade and promises to be “the most progressive trade agreement in history.” It will reduce tariffs, cover services, procurement and intellectual property and include enforceable standards on labour and the environment.

Strategically, TPP is the economic complement to the U.S. military rebalance to Asia. U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter describes TPP as important as “another aircraft carrier.”

The pressure is on Canada to deal with our supply management practices because, as Mr. Harper recently acknowledged “we as Canadians cannot, alone, stop a deal from happening if we don’t like it.”

For Canada, the significance of the TPP goes beyond setting the standards for future trade deals. It gives trade negotiations a boost. After 14 years, the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round is approaching zombification. The TPP also effectively updates the competitive framework for North America without reopening NAFTA. With TPP membership, we also avoid becoming just a spoke in a U.S. hub.

The U.S. threatens to exclude Canada if we don’t deal on supply management but when it comes to agricultural protectionism, the U.S. also has much to reform. We need to call the U.S. on their export subsidies for dairy products and other technical barriers.

Canada should be a world leader in dairy exports. We make our superb artisanal cheese, with Quebec alone producing more than 300 varieties. We have land, climate and an increasingly competitive industry, if only we would look at it from the right end of the telescope.

Look to New Zealand and Australia. They reformed their supply management practices two decades ago. New Zealand’s co-operatives now export 95 per cent of their milk product.

Studies by our research institutes – C. D. Howe, Macdonald-Laurier, George Morris, Conference Board, School of Public Policy – argue that supply management costs Canadian consumers and stunts industry growth. They provide road-maps for transition from our current costly protectionism to profitable export growth.

Canada was once the “bread-basket” of the world. We should aim to own the global food podium and add dairy and poultry to our export leadership in pork and beef, grains and pulse. But to do so, we need to open new markets in the Pacific and elsewhere.

The Conservatives, Liberals and NDP declare they are committed to freer trade. Each party is equally committed to supply management. Defending supply management is part of our political DNA, laments John Manley, a former industry minister and now CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. He compares it to “a dog that it is better not to poke or it will jump up and bite you.”

Rather than fear competition, we should take the muzzle off supply marketing and follow former prime minister Brian Mulroney’s advice to open our industry’s “enormous export potential.”

Will our national leaders work with our premiers to reform supply management? Leaving supply management reform to Stephen Harper’s granddaughter is not an option.

The opportunities of membership in the TPP will create benefits that our grandchildren will enjoy. It’s time for us to reform supply management.

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Perimeter Security

We are making progress on a more accessible border with U.S.

Colin Robertson Thursday, Nov. 27 2014 Globe and Mail

Tragedies can divide people and nations. They can also bring them together in shared solidarity as was recently demonstrated by Canada and the United States around our still-developing security perimeter.

In the aftermath of 9/11, the United States retrenched. The 49th parallel became a real border. Since then both countries, at the initiative of Canadian governments – Liberal and Conservative – have worked to create a security perimeter within which people and goods can circulate. Last month, the perimeter concept passed a critical confidence test.

The recent assassination of Canadian soldiers on Canadian soil by adherents of radical Islam (mental health also played a role) could easily have resurrected American fears of a soft-on-security Canada.A week earlier, Politico, the popular Washington insiders’ daily, ran a story describing “the real terrorist threat next door.”

Headlined “Fear Canada,” it rehashed the tale of millennium bomber Ahmed Ressam and the Toronto 18 warning that the U.S. has much more to fear from Canada. Even if the piece had a South Park “Blame Canada” quality, it could have found an audience in perfervid Washington. But it didn’t.

Instead, the U.S. reaction to the assassinations has been empathetic and understanding.

Within days, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry laid a wreath at our national cenotaph, symbolizing American sympathy and solidarity. This past weekend, at the Halifax International Security Forum, the congressional delegation led by Republican Senator John McCain and Democrat Senator Tim Kaine expressed the same sentiment, acknowledging that such events could also happen in the United States.

So what has changed?

A lot, including the development of a verifiable security “perimeter” – a word once forbidden from the official Canadian lexicon for fear it would somehow undermine Canadian sovereignty.

The “Smart Border” Accord, negotiated by then Deputy Prime Minister John Manley and Homeland Security Adviser (and later Secretary) Tom Ridge, kicked off the process with its checklist of thirty plus deliverables. It succeeded.

Mr. Manley and Mr. Ridge trusted each other. They set deadlines and demanded that their officials reconcile their differences before the two met.

But progress is not always in a straight line. When former prosecutor Michael Chertoff succeeded Mr. Ridge, border co-operation froze. Enforcement became the order of the day.

A more accessible border was Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s first ask of Mr. Obama during the President’s visit to Ottawa in February, 2009. When it went nowhere, Mr. Harper renewed his request and, in December, 2011, the Harper agenda became a shared plan for border and regulatory collaboration.

Converging Canadian and American public attitudes towards security help the process.

An IPSOS poll, released at the Halifax Forum, says that 60 per cent of Canadians and two-thirds of Americans see the world as a more dangerous place, underlining the case for co-operation.

A second look by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs at recent Canadian and American polling concluded that strong majorities – 57 per cent in Canada and 72 per cent in the U.S. – support closer co-operation on border security.

Border and regulatory co-operation is delivering results:

Enhancing collaborative cross-border law enforcement most visibly through the “Shiprider” program where enforcement officers of both nations jointly police the Great Lakes.

Harmonized approach on who can enter the perimeter. Canada is introducing an electronic travel authorization system that will parallel the existing U.S. visa-free system for pre-screening entry from travellers from visa-free countries.

Systematic information sharing on immigrant and refugee applicants, including entry information on third-country nationals thus allowing our two countries to share information on who has entered.

Joint border infrastructure planning to improve passage, including 28 binational ports-of-entry committees created to ensure local input.

Other tangible improvements include additional trusted-traveller lines at our ports of entry. Over a million Canadians subscribe to the “fast-pass” NEXUS program.

There is still work to do.

We need to merge the various trusted-traveller programs (and include Mexico). We need to roll-out the “single window” program so businesses and travellers can provide information to both governments once, not umpteen times in different formats.

The financing of the Detroit customs plaza remains unresolved. “Once inspected, twice (and eventually thrice) cleared” is still more rhetoric than reality. Border officials on both sides still behave with an “enforcement” mentality rather than as expeditors of goods and people.

We need to make permanent border and regulatory oversight within our Privy Council Office. Changes to the U.S. government’s North American oversight, recommended in the recent Council on Foreign Relations report, deserves attention.

But we are making progress and passing real tests. Our continental perimeter, one that will eventually include Mexico, is taking shape.

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Obama and Canada: the Final Two Years

What does Canada want during the last two years of the Obama administration and what we can reasonably expect to achieve?

Jean Charest, Partner, McCarthy Tétrault and a former premier of Quebec joined Scotty Greenwood, Senior Advisor, Canadian American Business Council; and John Manley, President and CEO, Canadian Council of Chief Executives and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Finance at a special panel and reception held Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at the River Building.

Colin Robertson, Vice-President of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute and a former diplomat posted to New York, Los Angeles and Washington, moderated the discussion.

More than 160 Members of Parliament, Senators, staffers, senior government officials from PMO, PCO, DFATD, NRCan, Agriculture and Agri-food, Industry and Transport Canada registered along with Ambassadors, High Commissioners and other diplomats, business and non-governmental organizations plus students and faculty.

This event was organized with the support of Randy Hoback, M.P., chair of the Standing Committee on International Trade; Don Davies, M.P., Official Opposition critic for International Trade; and Scott Brison, M.P., Liberal critic for Finance.

CPAC taped the panel for broadcast at a later date.

power point presentation is available here from Colin Robertson, Vice-President of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute.

A summer of the discussion from Carleton student note-takers is available here.

Focus on Republicans as Obama’s presidency nears end, say Charest, Manley

From Embassy Magazine

http://www.embassynews.ca/chatter-house/2014/12/03/for-the-love-of-sushi/46458

Hot trade talk at Carleton

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest says that Canada’s visas for Mexicans make no sense; Mexico is our partner country and we should remove them right away. John Manley, head of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, agrees but thinks that accepting Mexicans with American visas is a way to lift the visas without actually lifting them. Mr. Charest thinks the United States-European Union free trade agreement will go through because both players want to set the terms of trade rather then let growing powers like China set them. Mr. Manley predicts softwood lumber will explode again in the fall of 2015 and supply management is at the top of the hit list for the TPP negotiations.

All these hot trade talking points and more were batted around on Nov. 25 at Carleton University where a panel of experts came together to talk about the Canada-US relationship during US President Barack Obama‘s last two years. The event was hosted by Maureen Boyd, director of Carleton University’s Initiative for Parliamentary and Diplomatic Engagement, and before things kicked off panelists set out the deals negotiated in the past by Canada and lame-duck US administrations. These deals included the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, which was negotiated during the final two years of the Reagan administration, as well as the Acid Rain Agreement and the NAFTA, which were achieved in the final two years of the George H.W. Bush administration.

None of the panellists, Mr. Charest, Mr. Manley, Canadian American Business Council senior adviser Scotty Greenwood and Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute vice-president Colin Robertson, had high hopes that the Obama/Harper relationship would bear any such fruit. But they felt that provinces and states could still get a lot done in the next few years.

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A Conversation with Hon. John Manley on Global Developments

CPAC The Conference of Defence Associations Institute (CDA Institute) and the CDA host the 2013 Ottawa Conference on Defence and Security. (February 21, 2013)

John Manley (CEO, Canadian Council of Chief Executives) has an in-depth conversation with former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson about Canada’s role on the world stage: Afghanistan, conditions for Canadian intervention, Pacific Century, procurement and the Jenkins Report, aerospace and shipbuilding, Team Canada missions and promoting Canadian world-class capability,  China, Japan, India, new defence challenges.

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