Drop­ping the Ball on trade

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - EDITORIAL -

A leader who won’t fight for N.L. harms our econ­omy. In this lat­est dispute, the pre­mier couldn’t even say if he’d asked Ot­tawa to cover lawyers’ fees for chal­leng­ing U.S. tar­iffs on newsprint.

I read with some as­ton­ish­ment Pre­mier Dwight Ball’s let­ter to the ed­i­tor June 30 where he sug­gests Amer­i­can du­ties on Cana­dian newsprint – which dra­mat­i­cally af­fect Cor­ner Brook Pulp and Paper’s op­er­a­tions – are not con­nected to NAFTA rene­go­ti­a­tions. The re­al­ity is these du­ties were im­ple­mented by the U.S. dur­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions for a new NAFTA agree­ment. To sug­gest there is no con­nec­tion, di­rectly or indi­rectly, shows a lack of un­der­stand­ing of ne­go­ti­a­tions.

When pre­lim­i­nary du­ties were sim­i­larly im­posed on Bom­bardier, In­ter­na­tional Trade Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land was al­ready talk­ing pub­licly about NAFTA dispute res­o­lu­tion. The pre­mier should be more con­cerned with pro­tect­ing peo­ple whose jobs are on the line. But who can blame peo­ple for feel­ing anx­ious, af­ter this gov­ern­ment let so many peo­ple down in trade talks on the fish­ery?

As a for­mer N.L. Min­is­ter Re­spon­si­ble for Trade, I re­mem­ber our ap­proach when an agreed-to $400-M fish­ery fund be­tween the Cana­dian Gov­ern­ment and N.L. was re­neged on af­ter bi­lat­eral ne­go­ti­a­tions. So we be­gan an ad­vo­cacy process to bring our views to Ot­tawa and the E.U.: meet­ing with over 10 E.U. am­bas­sadors to Canada, mak­ing clear that, if no fund was pro­vided by the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment, we would not be giv­ing ground on Min­i­mum Pro­cess­ing Re­quire­ments (MPRS) in the fish­ery. We were in­stru­men­tal in ne­go­ti­at­ing the re­moval of sig­nif­i­cant tar­iffs on fish lines into the E.U. al­most im­me­di­ately, which will be ben­e­fi­cial for decades for all our in­dus­try.

When Ball came to power in 2015, he says there was no deal. So what did he se­cure for N.L. in ex­change for giv­ing up ar­eas of pro­vin­cial ju­ris­dic­tion un­der CETA be­fore Trudeau signed it? Surely he wouldn’t have given up MPRS for noth­ing. But he did.

Other Liberal At­lantic Cana­dian Pre­miers and Que­bec com­plained about the N.l.-spe­cific Fish­ery Fund. Nei­ther of those gov­ern­ments gave up MPRS — but they wanted a share of the fund any­way, and the pre­mier caved in.

A leader who won’t fight for N.L. harms our econ­omy. In this lat­est dispute, the pre­mier couldn’t even say if he’d asked Ot­tawa to cover lawyers’ fees for chal­leng­ing U.S. tar­iffs on newsprint.

Now he talks of work­ing “with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to lever­age new op­por­tu­ni­ties at­tached to the Canada-euro­pean Union Trade Agree­ment and the Trans-pa­cific Part­ner­ship,” and work­ing “with in­dus­try to cap­i­tal­ize on new op­por­tu­ni­ties in emerg­ing mar­kets around the world.”

I agree. But it takes real lead­er­ship to make that hap­pen. Keith Hutch­ings, MHA Fer­ry­land Op­po­si­tion Fi­nance critic

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.