The proposed Fair and Reciprocal Trade Act would allow Trump to unilaterally disrupt trade with Canada.

By CRM staff

Toronto, Ontario -- July 2, 2018 -- Reports on a leaked draft bill have revealed that the Trump administration appears to be determined to undermine the post-WW2 international status quo, the Canadian auto industry and legislative naming conventions.

According to the leaked draft of the Fair and Reciprocal Trade Act, the U.S. president intends to abandon the World Trade Organization's rules. The bill, which must be passed by both Congress and the Senate in order to become law, empowers the president to raise tariffs without the consent of Congress. Should it pass, Trump would be able to unilaterally push for tariffs on Canadian goods.

While he was able to unilaterally place tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel - tariffs that could cost the Canadian auto industry more than 100,000 jobs - Trump's justification for the decision was based on the need to protect a domestic steel and aluminum market as a matter of national defence. In response to those tariffs, Canada responded with a $16 billion retaliatory set of tariffs on everything from iron to playing cards.

While it is unknown why the administration chose such an unusual name for the bill, many observers have found it irresistible to suggest that it is appropriate. With support for the dismantling of NAFTA negligible, even among hard-core Trump enthusiasts in Congress, many have described the President as being 'filled with hot air.'

While the act is unlikely to become law, it has created an unpleasant atmosphere in the stock markets. With the European Union threatening to respond to Trump's proposed tariffs on them with retaliatory actions meant to hurt the U.S. to the tune of $300 billion per annum, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped by more than 4 percent since June 11.

 

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