The United States and Canada have one of many largest commerce relationships on the planet.
President Donald Trump met for the primary time Monday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“We have a really distinguished enterprise relationship with Canada,” Trump stated on the press convention.
But the commerce relationship between the United States and Canada through the years has not been as easy as one would possibly suppose. There have been commerce wars, acts of retaliation, allegations of dumping, and job losses.
“Obviously, our enterprise relationship is powerful… however the relationship has been troublesome, regardless of the agreements we’ve,” says Stuart Trew, editor of the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, a suppose tank in Ottawa, Canada’s capital. .
Trump has usually criticized Mexico and NAFTA, the commerce settlement between the United States, Mexico and Canada. But Canada is never talked about.
However, there have been extra NAFTA dispute lawsuits in opposition to Canada, nearly all by US corporations, than in opposition to Mexico. Even at the moment, Canada has strict tariffs in opposition to the United States, and the 2 sides just lately settled a bitter dispute over meat.
Most leaders and specialists emphasize that commerce ties between the 2 nations are sturdy and principally constructive. But Canada and the United States have had many battles alongside the way in which.
Now Trump needs to renegotiate NAFTA, which can be on the prime of the agenda for his assembly with Trudeau.
1. Canada will get into extra hassle with NAFTA than Mexico
Listening to Trump, one would possibly suppose that Mexico is the dangerous actor in NAFTA. But since NAFTA’s creation in 1994, 39 complaints have been filed in opposition to Canada, nearly all by US corporations. Known within the business as investor-state dispute settlement, it permits corporations to resolve instances below a particular panel of NAFTA judges as an alternative of native courts in Mexico, Canada, or the US.
There have solely been 23 complaints in opposition to Mexico. (For comparability, corporations in Mexico and Canada have filed a complete of 21 complaints in opposition to the US.)
And more and more, Canada is the goal of American complaints. Since 2005, Canada has been affected by 70% of NAFTA dispute claims, in response to CCPA, a Canadian analysis agency.
2. US-Canada Timber Battle
NAFTA just isn’t the one space of ache. In 2002, the US imposed a tariff of roughly 30% on Canadian lumber, claiming that Canada was “dumping” its lumber into the US market. Canada rejected the declare, arguing that the tariff price its logging corporations 30,000 jobs.
“It was a really bitter level in Canada-US relations for fairly a while,” says Tom Velk, an economics professor at McGill University in Montreal.
The dispute originated within the Eighties, when US logging corporations stated their Canadian counterparts weren’t enjoying truthful.
Whether Canada truly breached the foundations is a matter of dispute.
Canadian officers deny that the federal government is subsidizing softwood logging corporations in Canada. American logging corporations nonetheless declare that they do, and a US Commerce Department report discovered that Canada was offering subsidies to logging corporations in 2004. It didn’t say whether or not the subsidies have been ongoing.
According to the complaints, Canada backed logging corporations as a result of the federal government owns a lot of the land the place the timber comes from. That subsidy, along with the massive provide of timber from Canada, allowed Canada to cost its timber beneath what US corporations can cost.
The World Trade Organization finally sided with Canada, denying the US declare, and the 2 sides reached an settlement in 2006 to finish the tariff.
However, that settlement and its subsequent grace interval expired in October, and the 2 events are at it once more. The Obama and Trudeau administrations have been unable to achieve a compromise earlier than Obama left workplace and it stays a contentious commerce difficulty with US logging corporations calling for tariffs but once more.
Related: ‘Without NAFTA’ we’d be out of enterprise
3. Smoot-Hawley triggers the US-Canada commerce struggle
Things bought even worse throughout the Great Depression. In 1930, Congress needed to guard American jobs from world commerce. So the United States imposed tariffs on all international locations that shipped items to the United States in an effort to guard employees.
It was referred to as the Smoot-Hawley Act. Today, it’s broadly accepted that this legislation made the Great Depression worse than it was.
Canada was livid and retaliated in opposition to the US greater than some other nation, sparking a commerce struggle.
“Canada was so outraged that…they raised their very own tariffs on sure merchandise to match the brand new US tariff,” in response to Doug Irwin, a Dartmouth professor and creator of “Peddling Protectionism: Smoot-Hawley and the Great Depression.”
For instance, the US raised a tariff on eggs from 8 cents to 10 cents (these are Nineteen Thirties costs, in any case). Canada retaliated by additionally elevating its tariff from 3 cents to 10 cents, a three-fold improve.
Exports declined dramatically: in 1929, the US exported practically 920,000 eggs to Canada. Three years later, she solely shipped about 14,000 eggs, in response to Irwin.
Related: Remember Smoot-Hawley: America’s Last Great Trade War
4. Canada’s sky-high tariffs on US eggs, poultry and milk.
Fast ahead to at the moment. Smoot-Hawley is lengthy gone, however Canada continues to levy steep tariffs on US imports of eggs, rooster and milk.
For instance, some duties on eggs are as excessive as 238% per dozen, in response to Agriculture Canada. Some milk imports, relying on the fats content material, attain 292%.
“They are so costly that you would be able to’t convey them in. There are not any American eggs in Quebec,” says Velk.
According to the Canadian Embassy within the US, the fact may be very completely different. Its officers say that regardless of some stiff tariffs, Canada is likely one of the prime export markets for American milk, poultry and eggs.
The United States has tariffs on some items from all international locations, however they don’t seem to be as excessive as Canada’s.
Experts say these tariffs proceed to upset some US dairy and poultry producers, a few of whom are challenged to promote into the Canadian market. But they doubt a lot will change for the reason that tariffs have been in place for many years.
Related: Those Reagan Tariffs Trump Loves To Talk About
5. COOLer heads and the way forward for NAFTA
Despite all these disputes, specialists stress that this enterprise relationship stays probably the greatest on the planet.
In reality, the 2 international locations at the moment are so interconnected that when commerce disputes erupt, US corporations generally aspect with Canadian corporations and in opposition to US lawmakers.
For instance, Canadian beef producers challenged a US legislation that required them to label the place cattle have been born, raised and slaughtered. The Canadians stated the legislation discriminated in opposition to their meat not being offered within the US and took the case to the WTO.
The WTO sided with Canada, and final December Congress repealed the nation of origin labeling legislation. American meat producers, whose enterprise is intertwined with Canada, truly supported their counterparts in Canada, arguing that the regulation was too onerous.
As for Trump’s proposal to interrupt NAFTA, many American and Canadian specialists say that it’s not value renegotiating or terminating the settlement. The three international locations which can be a part of the settlement are so entangled with one another that untangling all that integration could be detrimental to commerce and financial progress.
–Editor’s Note: This story was initially printed on August 11, 2016. We have since up to date it.
CNN Money (New York) First posted on February 13, 2017: 11:11 am ET