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Canada fired a warning shot for US trade deal

Canada fired a warning shot for US trade deal

Canada fired a warning shot Wednesday for the Trump administration considering a cross-border tax on trade – Canada will hit back, and hard.

Following a two-day visit to Washington and meetings with top U.S. officials, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada would not play patsy in any renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States.

 

“It’s good to be good at playing defense,” she said, speaking to reporters, “but the best defense is a good offence. And Canada definitely will be and is good at taking strong offensive positions”.

 

And she said she told the Americans that if a reform of corporate taxes under the Donald Trump administration includes a tariff-like penalty on Canadian goods, Canada will strike back, CTV News television reported.

 

“I did make it clear that we would be strongly opposed to any imposition of new tariffs between Canada and the United States,” Freeland said. “That we felt tariffs on exports would be mutually harmful. That if such an idea were ever to come into being, Canada would respond appropriately.”

 

The last meeting on Freeland’s Washington trip was with her counterpart -- new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

 

She said Tillerson expressed a “very deep understanding of our economic relationship” which Freeland termed an advantage for Canada.

 

But despite U.S. President Trump’s vow to renegotiate NAFTA, any talks among the signors of the deal – Canada, the U.S. and Mexico – cannot get underway until Trump’s nominee for secretary of commerce, Wilbur Ross, and nominee Robert Lighthizer for U.S. trade representative, have been confirmed, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

 

Freeland said when it comes to trade deals, all sectors of the Canadian economy would be well represented.

 

“Rest assured that we will very forcefully advocate for the national interest,” she said.