#CBC: « ‘She’s method out of her league’: Steel exec slams Freeland’s dealing with of tariff battle » #Toronto #Montreal #Calgary #Ottawa #Canada
Barry Zekelman, the chairman and CEO of Zekelman Industries, delivered a scathing evaluation Thursday of how the Liberal authorities is dealing with the tariff battle with the United States, accusing the federal government of squandering alternatives to resolve the difficulty months in the past.
« They have stalled and blown this big time, and our consumers and our industry in Canada is suffering because of it, » Zekelman informed MPs on the standing committee on worldwide commerce.
« We’re waiting for someone’s ego. They need to get into a room and get the deal done … whether Freeland picks up the phone and calls (U.S. Trade Representative) Robert Lighthizer and says here it is … the deal is available this afternoon. »
Zekelman mentioned he was making these claims primarily based on his private connections with President Donald Trump’s circle; he mentioned he has dined with Trump and has met with Lighthizer. He mentioned he believes the Americans will drop their 25 per cent tariff on metal if Canada agrees to restrict its exports into the U.S. via a quota system.
« This can be solved. Literally, I can do it this afternoon, » Zekelman mentioned. « How do I know that? I’ve talked to Mr. Lighthizer myself. »
« We could have had that a long time ago. This is the worst negotiating I’ve seen, » Zekelman mentioned as he testified earlier than the committee by way of video hyperlink.
But two senior authorities sources inform CBC News that Canada just isn’t thinking about accepting any form of quota system on metal or aluminum — and Ottawa has made that clear to the Trump administration.
The quota system
Last June, the administration invoked a hardly ever used nationwide safety provision — Section 232 — to impose 25 per cent tariffs on metal and 10 per cent tariffs on aluminum from a number of international locations, together with Canada and Mexico.
Both Canada and Mexico responded with reciprocal tariff measures shortly after.
It had been broadly anticipated the tariffs can be lifted upon the profitable completion of the NAFTA negotiations. But when all three international locations reached an settlement in precept earlier than the October 1 deadline for a brand new deal — the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) — the U.S. didn’t take away the tariffs.
« The best outcome for both countries would be for the U.S. to rescind their tariffs, » mentioned Adam Austen, a spokesperson for Freeland.
« The unjust and illegal tariffs that the U.S. has imposed under Section 232 are separate and apart from the USMCA negotiations. We have taken strong responsive measures to defend our workers and our industry, including measured, dollar-for-dollar tariffs. »
Zekelman’s feedback got here because the parliamentary committee has been taking a more in-depth take a look at the affect of the tariffs on Canadian companies and staff.
Over a number of days of testimony, some enterprise homeowners have informed MPs they’ve been compelled to introduce layoffs or cut back shift work on account of the tariffs.
Zekelman mentioned that ache may have been prevented had the Canadians simply accepted the American quota system.
« They will do reduced shipments, or level shipments, but they will not do increased shipments, » Zekelman mentioned of the American negotiators.
An outspoken critic
He additionally took a private shot at Freeland over her troublesome relationship with Lighthizer.
« He can’t stand negotiating with her because she’s just not a businessperson. She’s way out of her league. »
Zekelman has been outspoken on the difficulty of U.S. tariffs — and even welcomed the thought when it was first floated again in March as a strategy to crack down on the dumping of low cost metal, largely from Asia.
« Is that 25 per cent duty enough? I don’t think it is and I actually think those duties should be much higher, » he informed CBC News on the time.
But his earlier feedback prompt he thought that Canada would get some form of exemption. « President Trump doesn’t view Canada as an enemy, » he mentioned on the time.
Note: « Previously Published on: 2018-10-19 04:00:00, as »She’s method out of her league’: Steel exec slams Freeland’s dealing with of tariff battle