Americans bomb Bombardier.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and the prime ministers of both the United Kingdom and Canada are furious and have spoken out angrily about the proposed 219.6 per cent duty on Bombardier planes purchased by Delta Airlines. This is a direct and brutal attack on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and on the very existence of an aircraft industry anywhere other than in the United States.

Mr. Trump has found a way to make America great again—all he thinks he has to do is beggar his neighbours.

With the completion last Wednesday of the Ottawa round of NAFTA negotiations, it is now obvious that the Americans are not bargaining in good faith. They have laid out no expectations for the more contentious issues. While publicly stating that the 62.5 per cent American content on automoniles is not good enough, there does not seem to have been information received by Canada or Mexico on a way to increase American content, or if it is even possible under NAFTA.

It is the same problem with Canada’s supply management in agriculture. Without some indication as to what they want, Canadians are left with President Trump’s ranting about milk and cheese. The problem is that Mr. Trump is totally ignorant about Canada’s approach to this and his NAFTA negotiators seem to have no direction.

It is obvious that the American negotiators were blind-sided by the Bombardier ruling as much the Canadians. It is hardly a simple duty charge when you increase the purchase price by as much as three times. It is as much to say as ‘Get out and stay out.’ Why the American negotiators did not go back to Washington and resign does not speak well for their moral fibre.

Mind you, the Canadian and Mexican negotiators and their political bosses share the problem. The serious question is can diplomacy work when you are dealing with an blow-hard such as President Trump. He does not speak ‘diplomacy.’ The only language Mr. Trump seems to understand are the spread sheets of the financial managers who did the funding of his grandiose development projects.

If I were in Justin Trudeau’s or Chrystia Freeland’s shoes, I would go to New York and talk to bankers who funded some of Trump’s better projects. They might learn how to communicate with the son of a bitch.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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