Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Faces 'Stormy Days' with New U.S. Trade Representative, Former Diplomat Says

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Faces 'Stormy Days' with New U.S. Trade Representative, Former Diplomat Says

Article excerpt

U.S. trade post pick sparks Canadian concerns

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MONTREAL - Canada faces "stormy days" ahead on softwood lumber and other issues with the U.S. after incoming president Donald Trump picked someone with a protectionist bent to be the next U.S. trade representative, says a former Canadian diplomat.

Trump plans to nominate Robert Lighthizer to fill the shoes of Michael Froman, who has served as the lead for the U.S. on the softwood lumber dispute.

Lighthizer, 69, was a deputy trade representative under the administration of former U.S. president Ronald Reagan and has been lead counsel in numerous anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases over three decades. He joins billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary and economist Peter Navarro at a new White House National Trade Council.

"Whether we're sideswiped or intentionally targeted I think there's going to be very tough days ahead on Canada-U.S. trade with Mr. Trump and his trade team," said Lawrence Herman, an international trade lawyer who represented Canada abroad, including at the World Trade Organization.

He believes there is little desire by the new administration to reach any quick deal with Canada on softwood lumber, which has become an increasing source of tension between the two countries since October, when a one-year period to reach a new agreement on softwood lumber had expired.

"They're not going to likely interfere with the trade dispute process so we're in for a number of years of litigation," Herman said.

He said Trump could also reactivate measures to protect beef farmers, challenge Canada's supply management of dairy and object to provincial liquor and beer import monopolies.

Carlo Dade, director of the Canada West Foundation's Centre for Trade & Investment Policy, said there is a risk that Trump will eventually go after Canada on a number of trade issues but the country should be pleased not to be on Lighthizer's immediate radar. …

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