On the good side, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has successfully negotiated a deal to end the reckless and destructive tariffs on steel and aluminum imposed last year by the mercurial United States:
Discussing the breakthrough Friday afternoon, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “There was no one breakthrough moment” in negotiations.
At the Stelco steel plant in Hamilton, Ontario, Trudeau told reporters that he had “lots of conversations with the [U.S.] president over the past week, and an understanding as well that these tariffs were harming workers and consumers on both sides of the border.”
And with both countries’ leaders now hoping to get the USMCA ratified, Trudeau said, “it didn’t make a lot of sense to continue to have tariffs on steel and aluminum between our countries” [Bill Chappell, “U.S. Will Lift Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum from Canada and Mexico,” NPR, 2019.05.17].
…In a proclamation released Friday, Trump agreed with a Commerce Department study that found some imported cars and trucks are “weakening our internal economy” and threaten to harm national security, but it stopped short of naming specific vehicles or parts.
Automakers warned the tariffs cost hundreds of thousands of auto jobs, dramatically raise prices on vehicles and threaten industry spending on self-driving cars.
A group representing major German and Asian automakers including Daimler AG, Toyota Motor Corp, Volkswagen AG, Honda Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co, called the suggestion some auto imports are a national security risk “absurd” [David Shepardson, “Trump Declares Some Auto Imports Pose National Security Threat,” Reuters, 2019.05.17].
If foreign cars and parts are a threat to national security, we should already be conquered, since there is no purely American car. There also appears to be no imminent economic harm to the presence of all those foreign cars and parts… which Trump himself seemed to tacitly acknowledge as he winged his way through another vacuous public statement on trade:
At an event in the U.S., Trump re-stated his desire to have Congress approve USMCA quickly.
“And then great farmers and manufacturers and steel plants will make our economy, even more successful than it already is, if that’s possible, which it is possible,” Trump said [Rachel Aiello, “‘A Good Day’: Canada Reaches Deal with U.S. to Drop Steel, Aluminum Tariffs,” CTV News, 2019.05.17].
While Trump continues to try to buy off the American farmers he’s destroying with tariffs, Canada, Japan, and the European Union will continue to attempt to hold the global economy together with intelligent and intelligible cooperative policies….