Daily Management Review

Canada Lobbies U.S. Before NAFTA Talks, Canada Carries Out Strong Lobbying In The U.S.


06/29/2017




With one encounter at a time, Canada's trade minister is trying to save NAFTA, in the baking Ohio heat.
 
As a part of a concerted Canadian outreach campaign ahead of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, Francois-Philippe Champagne is in Cincinnati for a meeting-packed June day.
 
U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to walk away from the 1994 which he describes as a disaster.
 
While seeking allies to press the Canadian cause if threats emerge, the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to remind Americans how important bilateral trade is, being concerned that any moves to abandon NAFTA or curb trade could cost thousands of jobs.
 
Canadian politicians and officials have met more than 40 state governors and lieutenant governors, almost 200 lawmakers and 14 cabinet members, and have made almost 160 trips since Trump's inauguration.
 
A similar campaign is being conducted by Mexico, the pact's third partner.
 
 "We have to hammer, hammer, hammer away at this and when we're exhausted, hammer again," said one person involved in the Canadian effort.
 
Champagne's message is simple: "We are your largest client."
 
Taking place across the border every day is movement of some 400,000 people and C$2.4 billion ($1.82 billion) worth of trade. Ottawa says that crimping that flow will hurt both nations.
 
Champagne notes that more than 300,000 jobs depend on trade with Canada in all of Ohio. Canadian officials drill deep into the data to help drive home the point.
 
For example, with exports exceeding $1 billion, 17,269 jobs are depended on Canada-U.S. trade and investment in Ohio's first congressional district, their analysis shows.
 
"Sometimes as friends and neighbors we take each other for granted," he tells the group. "Let's make sure we don't put things in place that would disrupt supply chains."
 
His clients' biggest complaint is red tape that makes it hard to transfer specialists across the border, lawyer Daniel Ujczo, who specializes in Canada-U.S. affairs, tells Champagne.
 
"I don't think companies will see a NAFTA win unless we address this," he adds.
 
Canadian officials say that ultimately what counts is whether their new-found allies will step up to defend trade with Canada as they track the number of trips and how many people they meet.
 
"You had many Republican senators calling the White House and calling Trump to say 'This is crazy'," said another person involved in the campaign when Trump announced in April he might tear up NAFTA.
 
David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to Washington says that the outreach effort is not intended to convey a threat.
 
But he adds: "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that at some point, if they keep doing things that harm Canadian companies, that it's going to be difficult for us to resist doing the same."
 
Selected for their economic and political importance, Canada initially chose to focus on 11 states.
 
home of Vice President Mike Pence – Indiana, is included in the list. One official tells Champagne that the Canadians are "talking to people who talk to Pence".
 
(Source:www.reuters.com) 






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