CME in the News: Prime Minister Trudeau’s meeting with President Trump

February 14, 2017

At CME we continue to work on behalf of all of our members to ensure that your interests are top of mind for government officials, industry stakeholders and Canadians across the country.

CME Chair Rhonda Barnet appeared on CBC News yesterday to discuss Prime Minister Trudeau’s meeting with President Trump. In addition, CME President & CEO Dennis Darby was quoted several times in the news on the same topic.

Below please find copies of the news clippings. If you have any questions or for more information email

Trudeau, Trump vow to tighten energy ties, starting with Keystone
The Globe and Mail, Shawn McCarthy
Link to article:

After meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Donald Trump signalled his desire to strengthen the bilateral-trading relationship, as the two leaders committed to improved energy trade and singled out the Keystone XL pipeline as an important infrastructure project.

Mr. Trudeau visited Washington on Monday with a cadre of cabinet ministers and several female business executives who participated in a roundtable on women entrepreneurs and business leaders. At every opportunity, the Canadians stressed the highly integrated nature of the two economies and the need for an open border.

In their joint statement, Mr. Trump and Mr. Trudeau noted that U.S.-Canadian energy and the environment are “inextricably linked” and that they are committed to “further improving our ties” in those areas.

“We have built the world’s largest energy trading relationship,” the statement said. “We share the goals of energy security, a robust and secure energy grid, and a strong and resilient energy infrastructure that contributes to energy efficiency in both countries. …

“As the process continues for the Keystone XL pipeline, we remain committed to moving forward on energy-infrastructure projects that will create jobs while respecting the environment,” it added. Neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Trudeau mentioned climate-change policies, though their statement did speak of co-operating on “clean energy.”

Like other exporters, Canadian oil and gas producers have worried about protectionist rhetoric employed by Mr. Trump, and a border adjustment proposal in Congress that could effectively place an import tax on goods entering the U.S. market.

In a joint news conference, Mr. Trump indicated that Canada is not the target when he complains about the unfairness of the North American free-trade agreement and that he is aiming for a “stronger trading relationship between the United States and Canada.”

However, he did suggest there would be some “tweaking” of the deal as it relates to Canada-U.S. trade, and he did not address the threat of a border adjustment levy or Buy America policies that can discriminate against Canadian exporters. When Mr. Trump revived the Keystone XL project last month, he also said he wanted American steel to be used for the pipeline and directed his Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross to prepare a plan to maximize the use of U.S.-sourced steel in all pipeline projects.

After having the project rejected by former president Barack Obama, TransCanada Corp. has re-applied for approval of the Keystone XL line, which would deliver Alberta oil sands crude to refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast. The President ordered the review to be expedited.

The Alberta-based companies fear they could face new market-access problems in what is currently virtually their sole export market. Several analysts have warned of a dire impact on the oil and gas sector if the proposed border adjustment levy was enacted.

“Such fears were wildly overblown in the first place, at least from the oil-industry perspective,” said Robert Johnston, president of Eurasia Group, a political-risk firm in Washington. Eurasia Group has argued that the U.S. government was unlikely to impose any measures that would drive up energy costs or impede imports from Canada.

Still, the industry welcomed Mr. Trump’s reassuring statements, said Terry Abel, executive vice-president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. “They tend to echo the long history we’ve had with a very strong, mutually beneficial trade relationship,” he said.

Mr. Trudeau had one key message for the President: that liberalized, crossborder U.S. trade benefits American middle-class workers as much as it does Canadian. One statistic was used to tell that story: that Canada is the most important export market for 35 states. It is a figure that was repeated by Mr. Trump at the news conference and even by CNN anchors covering the visit.

“Millions of good middle-class jobs on both sides of the border depend on this partnership,” Mr. Trudeau said.

In addition to oil and gas producers, manufacturers worry about maintaining their access to the American market, and whether they’ll be hit by new Republican protectionism – arising from the White House or Congress.

“It’s early days but [the meeting] was very encouraging,” said Dennis Darby, president of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters Association. He said the two sides appeared to make progress in specific areas, including expedited customs clearings for goods moving across the border, and harmonizing regulations.

“We’ll have our work cut out for us [in beating back protectionist measures] but this is a way better start than many predicted,” he said.

Corporate Canada takes comfort after Trump talks of ‘outstanding trade relationship’
The Canadian Press, Ian Bickis
Note: Following the article is a listing of links to the multiple media outlets that published this article.

CALGARY – The sigh from the C-Suite was one of relief as Canadian business leaders took comfort Monday in the positive tone on trade struck by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump.

From the forestry industry to the automotive sector to the oilpatch, Corporate Canada kept a close eye on the first one-on-one meeting between the two leaders, parsing every word they uttered for clues on the future of trade between the two countries.

Trump, who won the U.S. election campaigning on a promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, beamed about America’s “very outstanding trade relationship with Canada.”

The president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, which represents companies that are acutely integrated across North America, said Trump’s comments were a welcome affirmation of what he’s been quietly hearing from U.S. officials over the last couple of months.

“We were pleasantly surprised that the president would have used as many superlatives when discussing his view on Canada as a trading partner,” Flavio Volpe said.

Volpe said that going forward, he’ll be emphasizing how much America — and American consumers — have benefited from one of the most integrated industries in the world.

“We’re happy to share any and all data and give them a sense of how American interests have been well-served in all three countries.”

Dennis Darby, CEO of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, said he was pleased to hear trade become a focal point of Trudeau’s meeting with Trump, including specific commitments by both countries to establish pre-clearance operations for cargo.

Darby said he believes upcoming Canadian-U.S. negotiations on trade and other cross-border business issues are now getting off on the right foot.

“The table has been set for a set of positive discussions,” he said.

“I think Canada will need to be vigilant about protecting our interests, as the U.S. will be as well. But it sounds much more positive than at least some of the commentary in the recent past.”

Derek Nighbor, CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada, said he was encouraged to hear Trump say he would only be “tweaking” NAFTA and is more focused on trade issues with Mexico.

Nighbor said all industries in Canada are looking to remind the U.S. of the importance of the current trade relationship and he was pleased to see Trudeau deliver a similar message in Washington.

A joint statement released by Canada and the U.S. affirmed the “profound shared economic interests” between the two countries and the US$2 billion in two-way trade flowing across the border daily.

The statement also specifically committed to further improving energy and environmental ties and moving forward on energy infrastructure projects, specifically mentioning the Keystone XL pipeline.

Tim McMillan, head of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said it was a good signal for the TransCanada project.

“To see it as one of the specific mentions, it really reaffirms that this is a priority for the new administration, and it’s a priority here in Canada,” said McMillan.

He said it was positive that the importance of the environment was mentioned along with energy, but that Canada will have to be conscious on the details of how regulations play out in the U.S.

Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC Capital Markets, said in a note to clients that Trump’s comments on NAFTA should offer some comfort to Canadian economy watchers.

Shenfeld did, however, point out that the issue of a border tax on imports to the U.S., which could prove disruptive to a wide range of industries, was not covered.

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After Meeting Canadian Prime Minister, Trump Talks Of Tweaking NAFTA
Facts Press
Link to article:

Mr. Schwarzman, who leads Trump’s economic advisory group, has said Canada has a balanced trade relationship with the USA, while other countries don’t and aren’t as open to America’s trade.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took the high ground Monday in Washington when asked about his country’s refugee policy compared to President Trump’s, saying he doesn’t “lecture” other countries. He offered no specifics.

Mr. Trump said on Monday: “We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada”.

Canada’s foreign minister warned the Trump administration on Wednesday that her country will retaliate if the U.S. applies new tariffs.

While the controversial order was not mentioned specifically, Trump alluded to northern security and “safe and responsible cross-border travel” between the United States and Canada in his comments – but said the situation on the southern border is a completely different scenario. “And part of the reason we’ve been successful in doing that over the past year, welcoming close to 40,000 Syrian refugees, is because we have been coordinating with our allies, United States, and around the world to demonstrate that security comes very seriously to us and that’s something that we continue to deal with”. It was an extremely unfair transaction. Trump said that he greatly admired Pierre Trudeau and would put the photo in a special place. As near as we can tell, he was willing to abase himself endlessly in service of his larger goal: getting Trump to become Japan’s BFF. “We won’t stand for it”.

A bill now making its way through Parliament would give USA border agents new powers to question, search and even detain Canadian citizens on Canadian soil. “We are bound together by our history, our values, our economy, our environment, and our resolve to improve the lives of our citizens”, the pair said in a joint statement.

Mr. Trudeau headed to Washington hoping to secure reassurances that President Donald Trump valued the Canada-US relationship, especially its economic ties.

“It’s early days but [the meeting] was very encouraging”, said Dennis Darby, president of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters Association.

“But we can’t let the wrong people in”, Trump said.

“On the home front, we have to create borders”.

Trump has said he wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement to win provisions more favorable to US industry. Neither of the two US reporters called on during the press conference asked Trump about the launch. Shipments to Canada accounted for almost 44 percent of Michigan’s exports. General Motors Co. says it sold 267,341 vehicles in Canada in 2016, which was an increase of 1.5 per cent over 2015.

Trump has repeatedly said he wants significant changes to Nafta, which he has called a “disaster”. Or trying to earn Trump’s respect by showing you won’t be intimidated? “General Motors likewise is expanding plants and going to build new plants”.

Derek Nighbor, CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada, said he was encouraged to hear Trump say he would only be “tweaking” NAFTA and is more focused on trade issues with Mexico. (Inaudible) can lend some tremendously valuable perspectives as we think about the unique challenges that entrepreneurs, women in the workforce, female small business owners are confronted with each and every day.


Since 1871, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters has been helping manufacturers grow at home and, compete around the world. Our focus is to ensure manufacturers are recognized as engines for growth in the economy, with Canada acknowledged as both a global leader and innovator in advanced manufacturing and a global leader in exporting. CME is a member-driven association that directly represents more than 2,500 leading companies who account for an estimated 82 per cent of manufacturing output and 90 per cent of Canada’s exports.


Stefi Proulx
Director of Communications & Branding
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
(613) 292-6070