NAFTA trade skirmish brewing

OTTAWA — The Canadian government and the export industry are watching nervously as a trade war brews between this country’s NAFTA partners.

OTTAWA — The Canadian government and the export industry are watching nervously as a trade war brews between this country’s NAFTA partners.

Mexico slapped hefty tariffs on 90 American products this month, after Washington axed a program that allowed Mexican trucks to bring goods deep into the states — a right outlined the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The change was made as part of the Obama administration’s stimulus package, the same package that included “Buy American” provisions that have been decried by its northern neighbours.

“I don’t want to intervene in their dispute but I’m concerned when I see disputes like that,” Trade Minister Stockwell Day said in an interview.

“What happens in an economic downturn, various businesses and industries get nervous and succumb to the impulse to build protectionist walls.”

While Canadian truckers aren’t treated the same way, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said this week that Canada shouldn’t get different treatment when it comes to border issues.

“One of the things we need to be sensitive to is the very real feelings among southern border states and in Mexico that if things are being done on the Mexican border, they should also be done on the Canadian border,” Napolitano said.

The signals are raising concerns.

“I know my colleague, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan, will be having a lot to say to and with (Napolitano),” Day said.

“We have always made the message clear that we take our security obligations seriously but the borders have to be efficient and security can’t trump prosperity. And I think once the minister gets here, she’ll start to see some of that.”

Van Loan, however, said Napolitano’s comments had been overblown by the media.

Jayson Myers, president of industry association Canadian Exporters and Manufacturers, said his members are following what’s happening.

They’re worried about tighter regulations, and they’re also taking notes on what the Mexicans have done to retaliate.

Canadian businesses are still at risk of being locked out by state and municipal procurement contracts because of protectionist provisions in stimulus packages.

The Mexican government carefully selected the products it raised tariffs on to create the maximum political impact.

Members of Congress who supported the ban on Mexican trucks find that exporters in their states being directly targeted.

Just Posted

Hospitalizations jump in Red Deer due to opioid poisonings

Small city hospitals impacted more by opioid crisis

Central Alberta councils learn more about Bighorn Country proposal

A collection of central Alberta politicians are learning more about the province’s… Continue reading

High-speed chase led to fatal collision, jury hears

A Delburne man accused of manslaughter caused a fatal rollover collision during… Continue reading

‘Part of the solution:’ Alberta seeks proposals to build new refinery

EDMONTON — Alberta is looking for someone to build a new oil… Continue reading

Online ads spoil Christmas surprises, raising privacy concerns: experts

Lisa Clyburn knew she had found the perfect gift for her nine-year-old… Continue reading

Sebastian Giovinco, Jonathan Osorio and Adriana Leon up for top CONCACAF awards

Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco and Jonathan Osorio are up for CONCACAF male… Continue reading

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

TORONTO — Canada Soccer has named striker Jordyn Huitema and defender Derek… Continue reading

Review: Too much Spider-Man? Not in the Spider-Verse

You might be forgiven for feeling superhero overload this holiday season. Had… Continue reading

‘Modern Family’s’ Sarah Hyland had second kidney transplant

LOS ANGELES — “Modern Family” star Sarah Hyland says she had a… Continue reading

Orlando SC acquires Canadian Tesho Akindele in trade with FC Dallas for cash

ORLANDO, Fla. — Canadian forward Tesho Akindele was traded to Orlando City… Continue reading

Koskinen notches third shutout, McDavid gets winner as Oilers blank Flames 1-0

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers appear to have shored up their defence… Continue reading

Most Read