Now that he is U.S. President-Elect, Donald Trump’s campaign trail proclamations could mean trouble for Canadian exporters.
Trump has called the North American Free Trade agreement the “worst deal ever” and is opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement among twelve of the Pacific Rim countries.
UBC political scientist Maxwell Cameron says Canada will have to pay close attention to Trump’s actions in the coming weeks.
“Be prepared for – potentially – a difficult and complex negotiation across a wide range of issues with the United States government.”
Cameron says it could also be disastrous for tackling climate change, as Trump vowed to cancel the Paris climate deal.
“We confront a major climate crisis that requires serious and sustained action, and to have the government of the most important industrialized country in the world and a major contributor to emissions not taking climate change seriously, it leaves me speechless.”
Trump previously promised to pull out of the Paris climate-change agreement, and to back coal at the expense of greener energy.
Business community watching closely
B.C.’s business community is anxiously watching developments south of the border, with the future of key trade deals top of mind according to B.C. Chamber of Commerce Policy Director Dan Baxter.
“President Trump talked about renegotiating NAFTA so that obviously has some big consequences. Softwood lumber is a big issue here in British Columbia, there’s a lot of jobs here dependent on the forest industry so having an agreement with the Americans will be a top priority,” he said.
Baxter says trade and bilateral relations between the two countries are so vital to both.
“We have over $880-billion of economic activity that crosses our border each year. That’s $2-billion a day and 5-million odd jobs that depend on trade here in Canada,” he said.
According the BC Stats, in 2015 52% of all BC exports went to the United States, amounting to $18.7-billion.
Premier congratulates Trump
In a statement, Premier Christy Clark has congratulated President-Elect Donald Trump,.
She notes that the U-S is a “close friend and partner of B.C.,” and says this relationship is crucial to working, from this province, on issues like free trade, and a new softwood lumber agreement.
Clark also calls Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s run “historic.”
“For a first time, a woman has contested the presidency for one of the two major political parties,” she says.
She says it’s a significant and important signal to the millions of women and girls around the globe who saw it happen, “in real time.”
Vancouver Mayor shocked
Mayor Gregor Robertson says it’s too soon to say what ramifications a Trump White House will mean for Vancouver.
Certainly some Americans singled out Vancouver as a place to live in the event of a Trump victory, but Robertson says he’s not seeing fleeing U.S. residents coming here en masse.
But Robertson says he shared the concerns of many with the racism and sexism in the Trump campaign, saying it was “hard to accept some of the language in the US election.”
“But it was good to hear a different tone in Mr. Trump’s election acceptance speech,” he said. “Hopefully there’s a whole new day and hopefully the United States can heal from a very divisive election.”
Robertson made the comments at an announcement on the Empty Homes Tax expected to be before council next Tuesday.