Contrary to concerns among stakeholders about justifying US protectionism, International Trade Secretary Mary Ng said the blockade of Canada’s busiest trade corridor with the United States at the beginning of the month This helped demonstrate the point she repeatedly made to her American counterparts.
Ng returned to Washington, DC, on Monday – her third visit in months – to bolster her argument that a healthy and unimpeded trading relationship between the two countries is a key ingredient. core, essential to their common economic goals.
The week-long blockade of the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont., an offshoot of a trucker-led COVID-19 protest that paralyzed Parliament Hill for much of February, closing for a while briefly at auto factories in Michigan and stepped up calls for the United States to become less dependent on “foreign suppliers.”
But Ng said she didn’t hear those calls in her meetings over the past two days, including with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican who sits on the Senate agriculture committee as well as a subcommittee on international trade.
“They didn’t raise it,” she said Monday after a speech and discussion with members of the Wilson Center’s Canadian Institute.
“What I raised with both of them was the strength of this partnership and how we can continue to work more together in both economies. We’re both interested in the possibility. recovery of our supply chains, we’re both concerned that these trade corridors remain open (and) we’re both interested in the growth we’re bound to work on.”
To drive home, Ng was armed with statistics showing that the two countries exchanged about $450 billion in cross-border trade last year — a record, even with the complications that come with it. COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a testament to a working relationship,” she said. “It’s a testament to how much our economies depend on each other. And it’s my job to make sure that I continue to ensure trust in the very important relationship between Canada and Canada. and America”
As the Ottawa protests ended, the bangs of their defiant trumpets – brazenly trumpeted on US television for weeks by prominent right-wing voices on Fox News, One America News, Newsmax and others – still echoing south of the border.
A convoy of self-styled trucks, fed up with the government’s mandate to vaccinate and wear face masks, spent much of the last week crisscrossing the country on their way to the US capital, what some expect to see. arrived in time for President Joe Biden’s speech Tuesday night.
A larger convoy of trucks departed an area in California last Wednesday and have been documenting their trips on various social media and messaging channels since then, expected to to and around DC this weekend.
Plans are still flowing: one group is expected to hold a rally on the National Mall, the strip of parkland that connects Capitol Hill to the Washington Monument, while other organizers say they have plans plan to stop traffic on the busy interstate known as DC. The ring road surrounds the city.
Teams of workers erected the familiar iron and concrete barricades around Capitol Hill over the weekend, a fixture of one of the city’s most recognized landmarks in the months in the aftermath of the invasion. Deadly riots on January 6 disrupted Congress during the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency. five.
Ng declined to say whether she had received any assurances from US officials that Canada’s auto sector would not be tipped off a second time by the threat of proposed tax credits. President Joe Biden is on electric cars or not, a contentious element of his $1.9 trillion package. of climate and social policy measures.
The administration is expected to reinstate some elements of that law before the midterm term in November, although it remains unclear whether the tax credits – designed to support vehicles assembled in America with union labor – back before Congress or not.
“Canada will defend its national interests here,” she said. “We’re still working on it.”
Biden recently showcased electric vehicle manufacturers and suppliers during a White House event designed to advance efforts to establish “end-to-end domestic” supply chains for key minerals. , an essential ingredient to meet what experts say will be a dramatic increase in demand for EVs.
That event did not mention the role of trading partners like Canada in helping to procure those precious materials, despite the abundant deposits north of the border and the two countries already having a framework of cooperation. longstanding bilateral relationship.
Ng doesn’t seem too concerned.
“I mean, Canada has all the important minerals that go into batteries, so I think we really have something important here and important to that supply chain,” she said.
She added that, despite the White House’s focus on public facing its domestic priorities, the two countries are indeed working together on important minerals. “What are we doing? We’re rolling up our sleeves, we’re working and we’re working together.”
This Canadian Press report was first published on February 28, 2022.