Meeting in Washington to celebrate the ACÉUM, without Trudeau

Rencontre à Washington pour célébrer l’ACÉUM, sans Trudeau

Photo: Patrick Semansky Associated Press
The us president, Donald Trump, was received on Wednesday with his mexican counterpart, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Washington, dc.

President Donald Trump has received on Wednesday with his mexican counterpart to celebrate — without Canada — the entry into force on the 1st of July last, the new trade agreement north american.

The prime minister Justin Trudeau has refused to join the summit meeting at the White House, citing the pandemic COVID-19, a meeting in the House of commons and the persistent threat of us tariff on aluminum canadian.

During his daily press conference, Mr. Trudeau argued Wednesday that the entry into force of the new Agreement United States-Canada-Mexico (ACÉUM) was a victory for the three countries in this era of severe economic uncertainties. He also implied that he had the intention to discuss soon the issue with the president Trump.

“I speak quite regularly since the past few years with the american president, and I look forward to congratulate them — and all of us — for the entry into force of the new NAFTA, the ACÉUM,” said the prime minister. “I think it is really important that in a period of economic uncertainty and tension, we always have access to the largest market in the world : it is good for canadian workers and canadian jobs across the country,” he added.

The formal entry into force of the ACÉUM, last week, was marred by the allegation of the us Trade representative, who considers Canada to have exceeded the limits on the exports of aluminum provided for in the agreement of may 2019. This agreement lifted tariffs on imports of metals canadian by the president Trump, for reasons of ” national security “.

The threat of a return of the tariffs “is a little difficult to understand,” admitted Mr. Trudeau on Wednesday.

“The United States does not produce enough aluminum to meet their needs, especially at a time when we want to, as economies resume their activities in all of North America.

“These tariffs would increase the costs of production for manufacturers in the United States and impose an additional stress at a time when the stress does not fail. “

However, this price increase may be precisely the wish of the administration to Trump : the two american producers who have complained have links with a company in switzerland of metal that holds the exclusive rights to sell aluminium Russian in the United States. The four largest producers of aluminum in the world are China, Russia, India and Canada — mainly Quebec.

A visit embarrassing ?

The visit of the president of mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Washington — his first trip abroad since his election in 2018 — has also aroused a lot of criticism in him, for this leader who has been campaigning by criticizing severely Mr. Trump.

Since then, Mr. Lopez Obrador has been severely criticized for his kindness to an american president famous for his political anti-immigration at the mexican border.

With a presidential election in the United States in just four months, it was Mr. Trump who will benefit politically from this bilateral visit, said experts at a round table of the “Wilson Center” on Wednesday.

But they argue that Mr. Lopez Obrador could be on dangerous ground if he believes that his visit to the White House will exempt the Mexico of the attacks on president Trump, who did not hesitate to take on its strategic allies when it suits his political needs.

“If he thinks that going to Washington at this time […] will not isolate or protect it from future actions of this president, particularly during a campaign year — the protect against the rates, compared to other reprisals, and well, he deludes with illusions,” said Roberta Jacobson, former us ambassador to Mexico, under the administration Trump, and under that of his predecessor, Barack Obama.

“Proof : the threat of tariffs on aluminum of Canada at this particular time, as we celebrate the ACÉUM. This is not a president that says necessarily : “Here are my new partners, I don pénaliserai not, whatever happens”. “

The NDP demand accounts

The leader of the conservatives, Andrew Scheer, has made the same remark, but not without tweaking a bit the knife supporter in the wound. “Usually, when Justin Trudeau leaves the country, it harms the position of Canada on the international stage, then this may be a good thing that he remained at home, he said. It has a balance of zero victory against Donald Trump, then it may be better for us that he did not go. “

For his part, the spokesman néodémocrate in terms of trade, Daniel Blaikie, urges the government to explain, during a meeting Thursday of the committee of trade of the Commons, how it plans to protect the canadian sector of the aluminum against the threat of an ” arbitrary attack “.

“A second rate that is applied to an industry that is already suffering could very well be devastating,” wrote Mr. Blaikie, in a letter sent this week to the minister of international Trade, Mary Ng. “The global pandemic of the current made it worse. “

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