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The View From Canada: G7 Summit, Tariffs And Trade

President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

With Robert Siegel

Oh, Canada. Trudeau and Trump spar ahead of the big G-7 summit. We’ll look at it through the lens of Canada.


Daniel Dale, Washington bureau chief for the Toronto Star. (@ddale8)

Heather Long, economics correspondent for the Washington Post. (@byHeatherLong)

Nathan Janzen, senior economist at the Royal Bank of Canada.

From The Reading List:

The Washington Post: “Trump thinks he’s saving trade. The rest of the world thinks he’s blowing it up.” — “President Trump appears prepared to unravel 70 years of pain­staking effort that the United States has led to build an inter­national system of trade based on mutually accepted rules and principles.

Ever since an agreement on trade emerged in 1947 from the ashes of World War II, presidents of both parties have pushed this system as a way to strengthen alliances and promote the expansion of democracy and prosperity in Europe and Asia.

But with Trump’s decision last week to enact aluminum and steel tariffs against U.S. allies in Europe and North America, he is subverting previously agreed-­upon trade pacts. The result is a brewing trade war with Canada, Mexico and Europe, which are expressing shock and bitter frustration while enacting tariffs of their own on a bevy of American products.

The measures announced last week went beyond Trump’s previous actions, such as pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a recently forged trade agreement among 12 nations, and his efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.

Now, he has imposed restrictions on aluminum and steel imports in the name of national security, even though almost all trade and national security analysts agree that it strains credulity to say it is risky to source metals from allies with whom the United States routinely shares sensitive intelligence information.”

Toronto Star: “Trudeau is ‘overreacting’ to U.S. tariffs, top Trump adviser says” — “‘To say that this is an attack on Canada is not right,’ Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said in an interview on Fox News.

‘I didn’t say it was an attack on Canada. That was what Justin Trudeau, the prime minister, said,’ Fox host Chris Wallace responded.

‘Mr. Trudeau: I think he’s overreacting,’ said Kudlow. ‘I don’t want to get into the middle of that. As a fine friend and ally of the United States — nobody denies that. But the point is we have to protect ourselves.’

Trudeau didn’t quite say that the tariffs were an ‘attack’ on Canada. But he did say they were an ‘affront’ given Canada’s long-standing military alliance with the U.S. The official basis for the tariffs is national security.

Taking their anti-tariff case to a U.S. audience, Trudeau appeared Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland appeared on CNN’s State of the Union. Both of them described the tariffs as an insult.

‘The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is quite frankly insulting and unacceptable,’ Trudeau said.”

Donald Trump says Canada places unacceptable trade barriers on U.S. farm products. So, Trump has placed steep tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum that would make those Canadian materials more expensive here. How does this conflict between such close allies look to Canadians? And how might a brewing trade war affect the big G7 Summit in Quebec this week?

This hour, On Point: The view from up north.

– Robert Siegel

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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