(Ottawa) A few days before the official visit of the President of the United States, Joe Biden, business people are urging Justin Trudeau to remind his guest that Canada must be treated as a trading partner of primary importance by Washington.
The Biden administration continues to advocate protectionist policies that hurt Canadian businesses, laments the CEO of Quebec Manufacturers and Exporters, Véronique Proulx.
Business Council of Canada CEO Goldy Hyder agrees. “We must remind our friends in the United States that in an uncertain geopolitical context, we must solidify our relations. We are friends and allies. They must realize that we are stronger together. And that includes Canada, the United States and even Mexico,” said Hyder, who is in Washington for a three-day trip to educate US senators on the subject.
President Biden will make a two-day official visit to Ottawa on March 23-24. This will be his first official visit since arriving at the White House. Mr. Biden will also deliver a speech in Parliament on Friday, March 24.
According to Véronique Proulx, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must remind the American president that the protectionist policies resulting from the Buy American are harming good trade relations between the two countries and disrupting the supply chain of the North American continent.
“There are several protectionist measures that have been announced lately, especially during the State of the Union address. President Biden has indicated that he wants to adopt new standards to ensure that building materials used in federal infrastructure projects are made in the United States. When he came to power, he had already passed executive orders to strengthen the Buy American Act. So he’s continuing his momentum,” said Ms. Proulx.
The CEO of Manufacturiers et Exportateurs du Québec also fears the fallout from the Inflation Reduction Act, a Biden administration plan that provides for colossal investments of some US$370 billion to reinvigorate the manufacturing sector in the United States and accelerate the transition to clean energy.
“The United States is really thinking of all the ingredients necessary to significantly strengthen its industrial sector. But this is not done by seeing Canada as a major trading partner. It must absolutely be on the table during the meeting between Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden. It must be a priority in the subjects they will address, ”analyzed Ms. Proulx.
She recalled that the supply chain on the North American continent is highly integrated. But the Biden administration is stepping up measures to favor local businesses and limit access to government contracts for foreign companies, including Canadian companies.
To circumvent these protectionist policies, Canadian companies are forced to invest in factories in the United States or to open premises there in order to be able to participate in major public tenders. Ms. Proulx gives the example of Lion Electric, the zero-emission heavy-duty vehicle manufacturer, which notably opened a plant in Joliet, Illinois.
“But it’s also true in the building materials sector. The Biden administration must be made to understand that the competitors are not in Canada, they are elsewhere in China or Asia. So we have to work together. We are allied countries. »
Many issues are on the agenda during Mr. Biden’s official visit. This should include the commercial ties between Canada and the United States and their desire to strengthen the supply chain on the continent in order to reduce their dependence on China in strategic sectors such as semiconductors and critical minerals. .
The war in Ukraine, the fight against climate change and the opioid crisis which is causing death in both countries are on the agenda. The modernization of NORAD and the defense of the North American continent are also on the menu, as is the crisis that has been shaking Haiti for several months and the migratory flow that is affecting the two countries.