Make no mistake about it … the bully south of the border cried “Uncle”.
And it was because Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister, 47 years old, stood up … unflinchingly … to the 45th American President, 72 years old, telling him BLUNTLY that as long as our aluminium and steel is subject to Trump’s phoney “security” tariff, Canada would NOT ratify the new NAFTA (I won’t call it USMCA until it’s in effect).
Trudeau and Canada’s team knew Trump had been feeling the heat from much more important sources than Canada … American farmers, producers, manufacturers, exporters AND several Republican politicians facing re-election … all of them HURTING from Canada’s own retaliatory tariffs … on top of China’s own retaliatory tariffs.
Clearly, for many, Trump’s “winning” ways weren’t working as planned.
Turned out, American industrial producers and manufactures NEED Canadian aluminum and steel … even with the tariffs (passed on, of course, to consumers) … more than we need their bourbon, prepared foods, agricultural products, personal care products, kitchenware etc. … all fairly easily replaced or avoided.
In fact, despite the added cost of the tariffs, Canada’s Stelco, for example, “reported net income of $108 million on revenue of $648 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2018, compared with net income of $16 million on revenue of $452 million the same period in 2017”, as Global News reported in February.
And the upward trend has continued into this year too: Stelco’s first quarter revenues totalled $517 … UP 7% from their first quarter 2018.
I leave it to the business analysts to figure out whether these solid gains resulted from increased exports to other countries, greater domestic sales … or the reality that American steel/aluminum-related industries NEED Canadian products to manufacture their goods.
And removal of those tantrum tariffs will only help Canada’s bottom line even more.
It’s clear, despite the rhetoric, the tariffs, the attempts to bully, the insults directed at trading partners … and the higher prices … most American consumers have not taken up Trump’s nationalist cause.
The US trade deficit has actually grown …
“The U.S. trade deficit widened in 2018 to a 10-year high of $621 billion, bucking President Donald Trump’s pledges to reduce it, as tax cuts boosted domestic demand for imports while the strong dollar and retaliatory tariffs weighed on exports,” Bloomberg news reported.
Trump was desperate for a “win” SOMEWHERE as the trade dispute with China escalates, his other foreign ventures flounder … and Democrat Joe Biden now repeatedly tops him in most polls.
So the bully caved on steel and aluminum.
I could hardly stop laughing as I watched the US President, addressing a rally of his base, still call his backing down a “win”. And they cheered. LOL!
So I think we should admire how Trudeau stood firm in handling the steel/aluminum US bullying … just as he has also not bowed to Saudi and Chinese bullying tactics on other matters of principle.
Canadians are a quiet, compassionate people … but that should not be mistaken for weakness.
Of course, let’s keep it real: the “win” could not have come at a better time for Trudeau either!
It should NOT make Canadians forget or, in my view, forgive his disgraceful handling/treatment of BC Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.
But we should be prepared to grant Trudeau this: from a national perspective, his standing up to Trump, under pressure, took strength … and the result should make us ALL happy … and even proud.
(Reminder: To get first alerts of new postings on this BC blog, follow @harveyoberfeld on Twitter. No spam .. just alerts to new postings.)