The inauguration of the 45th president of the United States came with a pledge to use the first 100 days in office to overturn the applecart on trade, creating a major diplomatic headache for America’s northern neighbour.

While Mexico and China are in the "crosshairs" of US President Donald Trump, Canada risks getting "sideswiped" by Washington’s about-face.

Trump wasted little time once sworn in, using his first few days in the Oval Office to sign an executive order pulling out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, and turning his sights on the North American Free Trade Agreement. 

With Canada’s cabinet and diplomatic corps weighing the avenues available to them, Dan Ciuriak and Patrick Leblond, international trade experts with the Centre for International Governance Innovation, sat down in Ottawa for a conversation about "trade with Trump."

“The question is: Will there be a trade shock facing Canada,” says Ciuriak, who cautions that throughout history, Washington's northern trading partner has “repeatedly faced trade shocks from the United States.”

“The Americans have taken measures in the past when they felt they were getting a raw deal from the international system,” he says, with Leblond adding that Canadian policymakers and businesses need to create a "common front" that makes the case in favour of maintaining open trade between Canada and the US. 

Both experts urge Ottawa to think twice before retaliating against Trump and risking an escalating trade war with Washington. 

Thematics
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