Keeping communication channels open will be important, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture said
By Diego Flammini
Canada’s ag sector is prepared to engage with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s administration on industry issues.
The new administration likely represents a different approach to trade and other industry negotiations, said Chris van den Heuvel, second vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.
“I think we can expect a little bit more stability and calmness when it comes to negotiations and dealings with the U.S.,” he told Farms.com. “Under the previous administration, we know pretty extreme measures were being utilized in the name of national security. We’re excited to meet the new members of the administration and communicate with them to help farmers in our country and theirs.”
On June 1, 2018, for example, President Trump imposed tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum citing national security as his primary motivator.
Those levies were lifted in May 2019 and reinstated in August 2020 before the U.S. lifted them again in October.
In terms of industry items, the Canadian ag sector is keeping a close eye on a trade pact.
A Biden administration may consider rejoining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) if it can get the necessary congressional support, said Graham Allison, Harvard University’s Douglas Dillon professor of government.
“In terms of the domestic politics, Democrats – and especially the Democratic base – are more protectionist than the Republicans,” he told CNBC. “So, I think it’ll be a difficult challenge, certainly would have been one that Biden will be interested in.”
President Trump removed the U.S. from the trade deal in 2017, leaving Canada as the only North American representative and affording Canadian farmers with access to the other 10 member nations.
If America rejoins the deal, that could pose challenges for Canadian farmers, van den Heuvel said.
“Right now, we enjoy a market access that’s not available to our U.S. counterparts,” he said. “If the U.S. does join (CPTPP), that will undoubtedly have some ramifications that we’ll have to monitor at some point. We would hope that even if the U.S. does join, that our relationships with the other countries would be preserved.”