Canada-U.S. Trade: Inside Ottawa’s Efforts To Fight ‘Buy American’
As Washington continues to defend the contentious Buy American provisions outlined in the U.S. jobs bill, it has become abundantly clear that, for policymakers south of the border, Canada is not top of mind.
But according to a former Canadian diplomat who has been on the inside of major trade policy negotiations with the U.S., this reality, however harsh, simply reinforces a stubborn fact of life: No matter how friendly relations with our biggest trading partner may seem, Canadians must wage a permanent campaign to protect our interests south of the border.
“For the U.S., we’re not a problem, and therefore we’re not on the immediate agenda,” Colin Robertson told The Huffington Post. “We Canadians have to constantly be making the case to our American market, reminding them … that we’re also their biggest market.”
It’s an effort that Robertson – who helped negotiate and implement the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – says is comprehensive, despite the fact that it may not always seem that way. “Are we talking to all the various parties? We are, but stuff happens, and will continue to happen,” he says. “It’s like Whac-A-Mole. You’ve got to constantly be on guard, because [these kinds of protectionist provisions] are popping up in all kinds of places.” Read more here.
Date: October 24, 2011