World

Canadian NAFTA Advisor Advocates Trade War If Trump Resorts To Tariffs

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

A Canadian NAFTA advisor is advocating a trade war with the U.S. if NAFTA is history and President Donald Trump uses tariffs against Canada.

Advisor Rona Ambrose, who led the Conservative Party after the resignation of former Prime Miniser Stephen Harper, said she fears for the future of Canada’s dairy, wine, aerospace and auto industries if NAFTA is not renewed and Trump follows through on his threats to use tariffs against Canada.

Ambrose told CTV News that Trump could willingly use trade and tariffs as insurance in the upcoming fall midterm elections. She says the protectionist rhetoric played well with the working-class vote in key industrial states that helped him win the presidency in 2016.

“I think we’re going to see Trump use trade action through the commerce department aggressively to get what he wants if he can’t get it through NAFTA,” Ambrose told CTV.

Ambrose noted that Trump has already been talking of 25 percent tariffs on autos brought into the U.S. — the president has even told Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to assess how the tariff could be implemented.

The tariff talk occurred just as Trump’s description of Canada began to sound little different from his usual complaints about Mexico — describing both members of the trade treaty as “very difficult to deal with.” Canada and the U.S. have been particularly off-side in recent weeks.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, usually reserved in his assessment of Trump’s NAFTA comments, wasted no time in condemning the proposed auto tariff.

Ambrose reiterated her belief that the trade universe would change overnight for Canada if NAFTA fails.

“We have to protect our interests, there’s no doubt about that,” Ambrose said.

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