Despite the at times erratic nature of Donald Trump, the American administration has been upfront about some things. Like their concern with China and the dumping of steel.
While Canadian politicians walk around and huff about it being insulting that we are considered a national security threat to the Americans, the Americans have been upfront in explaining this. Their are worried about China and not us.
So why are we subject to tariffs on national security grounds if they are worried more about Beijing than Ottawa?
Because China ships products like steel, vital for national defence, to the United States through countries like Canada. And Mexico. And many European countries.
Chinese steel passed off as Canadian.
This steel is sent to Canada, sometimes barely processed at all and then “exported” from Canada to the United States as Canadian steel. Except it isn’t.
It is a practice called transshipment and the Americans have told us they are concerned about it for more than a year now. They want it stopped and we have dragged our heels.
As I explain in my latest column for the Toronto Sun, the Trudeau government failed to act.
Why wouldn’t we have stopped this?
It’s not like allowing it to keep going was about protecting Canadian steelworkers, it protects Chinese steelworkers.
Instead, despite a year warning, the Trudeau government didn’t move on what is dubbed country-of -origin labelling until May 30, 2018.
That was the day before the Americans invoked the tariffs.
It is a real puzzle to me. Is it because of Trudeau’s admiration for China’s basic dictatorship and his push to get a trade deal with China? Well, probably the latter, we can debate the former.
I’ve talked to economists and trade experts who debate the size and scope of the transshipment problem. Some think it is minor, some say it is there but overstated. Even so, if the market you send more than 75% of your exports to says this is a problem and it needs to stop or else……you stop it.
We could have avoided the tariffs.
Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told the Senate Finance Committee in Washington that it was only with the tariffs that Canada and other countries began to act. Ross actually said we could have avoided the tariffs if we had acted sooner.
Why we didn’t act sooner is a mystery to me.
Conservative Foreign Affairs Critic Erin O’Toole asked our Foreign Affairs Minister about this very issue the day before Ross made his comments. Chrystia Freeland didn’t give O’Toole an answer, she ran the clock out on his time at committee as she discussed all the great conversations that were had. She never said why action wasn’t taken sooner.
The Liberals and their allies in the media have been demanding that everyone rally to the flag for Canada in this trade war with the U.S. Most Canadians are fine with that but I do wonder why Trudeau didn’t rally for Canadian workers.
He had a chance to put Canadian workers first and put a stop to shady practices by China. He chose not to.
Perhaps it is time for the PM to stand for Canadians.