Breaking: Canada-U.S. Reach New Trade Deal
October 01, 2018
Up against a tight deadline, Canada and the U.S. reached a tentative agreement Sunday night that ensures they will be included in a trilateral trade agreement, now known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), replacing NAFTA. Reports suggest the leaders of all three nations will sign the USMCA at the end of November.
Equally important, the threat of auto tariffs has been removed. If U.S. President Donald Trump decides to impose Section 232 tariffs on auto imports worldwide, Canada would see little to no impact. Ottawa negotiated a type of exemption that would allow Canada to continue to export vehicles and auto parts to the U.S. – tariff-free – up to a certain amount, according to CBC News: “Trump has agreed that no hard limit will be placed on Canadian auto exports to the U.S.”
Huw Williams, CADA’s Public Affairs Director, says CADA has worked tirelessly to advocate for a trade agreement and the removal of the auto tariff threat. “I spoke to the Prime Minister’s Office this morning to express our appreciation, and have thanked Ministers and MPs personally for their efforts. For 18 months we have worked with the Canadian government leadership and this is a proud day for CADA leadership, team members and dealers,” says Williams.
CADA’s efforts included direct advocacy of MPs, Cabinet Ministers, the Prime Minister’s office, and senior trade officials. The association also led a charge on Parliament Hill that included testimony before the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on International Trade, and heavily targeted grassroots lobbying. They applied relentless media pressure on every major media platform from national to major cable news, and on top rated political shows including CTV's Power Play and CBC's Power and Politics. “Our social media engagement on Twitter and other platforms amplified our message that the retail auto sector was too important to put at risk in a trade war,” he adds.
The news of an agreement follows U.S. President Donald Trump’s renewed threats to impose steep tariffs on the Canadian auto industry at a recent United Nations General Assembly in New York. Such a move would have been of “Carmageddon” proportions to the country, and likewise detrimental to the U.S. if Canada were to apply retaliatory measures of the same proportions, says Williams. “Canada was placed in a unique position where the U.S. President targeted the Canadian auto sector directly and publicly at the United Nations.”
John White, CADA’s President and CEO, says “Our association has been front and centre at the national debate, pointing out the importance of getting a deal, and the importance of the automotive sector for the economy, while ensuring that we are not undercutting Canada’s negotiating position or the Prime Minister.”
He adds, “After many months of uncertainty during often tense negotiations between the U.S. and Canada, a deal has been struck. The nation will be included in a trilateral deal, the threat of auto tariffs has been lifted, and dealers can finally take a breath.”