MoneyClear path ahead for U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal, Morneau says
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U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision not to slap tariffs on Mexico over migration clears the path for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement to move forward, said Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
The removal of that uncertainty and the U.S. cancellation of steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada have pushed the joint deal toward ratification, he said. Less clear is what’s ahead for world trade, and how any additional tariffs — or threats of them — will impact Canada and the global economy.
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“We’ll just deal with the world as it is,” Morneau told Bloomberg Television’s Kathleen Hays in an interview Sunday, on the sidelines of the Group of 20 finance ministers’ and central bank governors’ meetings in Fukuoka, Japan. “We don’t think tariffs are helpful in the conduct of global trade.”
As it tries to get the USMCA sealed, Canada is also in “a difficult moment” in its relationship with China, said Morneau. The two countries are entangled in several diplomatic disputes, including over Canada’s detention of the Huawei Technologies Co. chief financial officer, China’s high-profile imprisonment of two Canadians, and Chinese scrapping of Canadian canola purchases.
“We don’t have a clear step forward right now,” Morneau said of negotiations with China. “We have seen some pretty difficult issues.”
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Morneau said he’s hoping that a thawing of U.S.-China trade relations will help his own country and China come to terms.
While the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union is “not helpful” to the global economy, Morneau said Canada “will always have a strong trading relationship” with the U.K. The two countries traded more than $21 billion in goods last year, according to International Monetary Fund data.
Beyond trade, Morneau sees a Canadian economy that’s humming along with “really positive indicators,” including strong employment. Morneau wouldn’t confirm whether the government will expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline — set to boost Canadian crude exports, especially to customers in Asia — in an announcement due later this month. He said it’s “an important marker for our oil and gas sector.”
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