MP Ed Fast gave a speech about the North American Free Trade Agreement to an agriculture business crowd Thursday morning. Kelvin Gawley/Abbotsford News

‘Trump doesn’t care much about the rules,’ says former minister of international trade

MP Ed Fast spoke to farmers about NAFTA negotiations

Canada’s former minister of international trade says the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is being renegotiated based on a false premise established by the American president.

Ed Fast said Donald Trump has initiated the talks based on the falsehood that his country is at a disadvantage in trade. In fact, it is Canada that has a slight trade deficit with its southern neighbour, the Abbotsford MP told an agriculture business crowd Thursday morning.

Fast was speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors at Tanglebank Gardens and Brambles Bistro.

Canada is dealing with a president who has “appealed to the basest instincts” of rust-belt voters to whom he has promised great things, Fast said. The high expectations of his supporters put the pressure on Trump to either kill NAFTA or restructure it dramatically, he said.

But Fast also had some praise for Trump. He applauded his deep corporate tax cuts, which he said would attract investment to the U.S.

Despite his Conservative Party’s place in opposition, Fast said he had full confidence in Canada’s negotiation team that has been meeting with Mexican and American counterparts in recent months. But he said he questions some direction coming from the Liberal cabinet.

Fast said he was most worried about the threat to supply management – the marketing system that protects dairy, eggs and poultry producers. He said U.S. negotiators have the system in their sights, as they see it as an unfair advantage Canadian farmers have over Americans.

Trump’s zero-sum game view of trade is simply inaccurate, Fast said. On the very day the deal was signed, Fast praised the salvaging of the Trans Pacific Partnership with 10 other nations – including Japan, Australia and Mexico – that was put in jeopardy when the U.S. pulled out last year.

Fast also said he was happy to read reports that Trump is considering exemptions for both Canada and Mexico for his proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. (The exemptions were confirmed by U.S. officials just a few hours after Fast’s talk.)

He also said he expects other countries affected by Trump’s protectionist trade policies to file disputes with the World Trade Organization. But even if they do, Fast said the president will probably be undeterred.

“Donald Trump doesn’t care much about the rules,” he said.


@KelvinGawley
kelvin.gawley@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Langley has no legion branch but will have poppy sales

A special poppy campaign starts later this month and needs volunteers.

Second Langley man found guilty in $6 million fraud

The co-accused in the Aggressive Roadbuilders fraud admitted his guilt in court.

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Giants hand Victoria their first loss of the season

Langley’s WHL team went head to head with the Royals for the second day in a row, beating them 3-2.

VIDEO: Rollover closes down Willowbrook Drive in Langley overnight

Mounties are working to find the cause of a crash early Sunday morning on the Langley-Surrey border.

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to the Middle East to learn more about the fate of the Saudi national

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Sockeye run in Shuswap expected to be close to 2014 numbers

Salute to the Sockeye on Adams River continues until Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

Aldergrove Starfish program gets boost

Jazz Pilots for Kids donates $4,871 for after-school food program

Most Read