Op-Eds

Other than Donald Trump, no one likes trade wars. And to Canada’s credit, this country has never advocated that kind of policy, supporting instead the attributes of open markets and the rules of the world trading order created in the early post-Second World War days, staunchly foreswearing protectionism and the unilateral action that the Trump White House relishes. But like it or not, we’re four-square in a trade war with China. Canadians should wake up to that fact and put aside our typical naïveté in the hope that things can be worked out with patience and good faith. Good faith has to work both ways – and there’s little evidence of that from the Chinese side. This means the Trudeau government needs to take a tough response to Chinese...
Economic sanctions are a growing risk factor for Canadian companies engaged in international business, involving traps for the unwary, including, in the most serious cases, criminal charges against senior officers and against the company itself. Despite these risks and the exposure to criminal penalties, the world of sanctions is not fully understood in many quarters. Here’s a short primer. To start with the obvious, sanctions are unilateral prohibitions applied by governments to restrict foreign transactions in specific sectors or with individuals that have been identified as corrupt or morally reprehensible. In some cases, sanctions cover both categories. Sanctions tend to go in one direction, mostly applied by Western...
China has sustained spectacular economic growth for nearly four decades and it has made a great leap forward in the living standards and personal ambitions of much of its population. However, a growing number of signs indicate the prolonged period of rapid growth is coming to an end, with consequences for Canada and the world. China’s growth miracle began in the late seventies with reforms led by Deng Xiaoping that recognized the advantages of private initiative and market forces – combined with massive continuing investment by the state and a gradual opening to the world economy. Growth rates began to take off in the eighties and soared into double digits at times. Chinese per capita income grew rapidly and is now approaching US$10,000...
Donald Trump’s insulting statements about Canada in New York this week mark a new low in the Canada-U.S. relationship, with ramifications far beyond the North American free-trade agreement. Never before has a U.S. president threatened to inflict direct harm on Canada. While there have been some rough spots over the course of our shared history, Mr. Trump’s apparent disdain for Canada and threats of economic warfare, seeming to relish in the prospect like some kind of neighbourhood bully, has taken the bilateral relationship into a state of political disrepair. Even though the final episode hasn’t been written, it’s possible to predict that the NAFTA era may be coming to an ignominious end; 25 years of stability and mutual prosperity...
Another confusing day in Washington, with U.S. President Donald Trump talking by phone to the Mexican President and then suggesting the two countries could conclude a bilateral agreement, now that some kind of understanding with Mexico on auto rules of origin has been reached. Telling the Mexican President that the United States might want to pursue a separate trade deal with them seems to have taken the Mexicans aback, Mexico never contemplating having to go up alone against the United States. It’s clear by now that Mr. Trump and his team don’t like dealing with Canada. That’s reflected in Canada being sidelined for weeks while the other two governments held high-level meetings behind closed doors – a disgracefully bad-faith tactic...