Posted by on May 15, 2019 1:13 pm
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TES GeoPolicy Editor Daniel McGroarty, a former White House staffer and congressional expert on resource and defense issues, argues in The Hill that a return to harmony in North American trade pacts would strengthen Donald Trump’s hand in ongoing U.S.-China trade talks. It also puts the U.S. in a better position to handle the current and potential fallout from a U.S.-China trade war.


  • McGroarty thus calls for Trump to lift his much-criticized, openly irrational trade tariffs on Canada and Mexico, while Congress must agree to the new USMCA. As noted in a previous post, a number of obstacles stand in the way of the trade deal (including pushback from constituencies in Canada and Mexico).


  • The piece specifically calls for the administration to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum. In the latter case McGroarty notes that U.S. and Canadian government and industry have engaged in cooperative production of aluminum, for important strategic reasons, since before the Second World War. Taxing aluminum at the border is counterproductive to say the least.


  • McGroarty also urges cooperation between the U.S., Canada and Mexico on development of critical mineral resources – a place where the three, with their vast combined landmass and unexploited resources, would be better placed to compete with China. Ominously, he points out that China is the chief supplier of 22 out of 35 minerals deemed critical by the U.S. administration.