President Trump credits his tariffs policy for pressuring Canada to reach a trade deal in the 11th hour Sunday night. The agreement needed to be reached by midnight in order to qualify for the fast track deadline for Congress to approve.
“Without tariffs, we wouldn’t be talking about a deal, just for those babies out there who keep talking about tariffs— that includes Congress, ‘oh, please don’t charge tariffs’ — without tariffs, we wouldn’t be standing here,” Trump said in announcing the deal Monday.
In late May, Trump imposed steep tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. By the end of August, Mexico came to a trade agreement with the U.S. to replace NAFTA, but Canada held out until Sunday. Trump’s critics argued all three North American countries needed to reach a deal because he is the one who withdrew from the previous NAFTA agreement.
Canada was holding firm, particularly on their desire to keep dairy tariffs on the United States. On the Wednesday before the agreement was signed, Trump said, “We’re very well along the way with Mexico. The relationship is very good. And with Canada, we’ll see what happens. They’re charging us 300 percent tariffs on dairy products. We can’t have that. We can’t have that.”
Canada continued to push for that position, but decided to give in as the trade deadline loomed. Under the new agreement, U.S. dairy producers (mostly in Wisconsin and update New York) will be able to export products to Canada without tariffs until they equal 3.59% of domestic Canadian production.
The pressure of not signing a trade deal with the United States while Mexico had secured one already must have taken a toll on Canada. President Trump was critiqued for holding firm to a position that refused to allow the United States to be taken advantage of, but he proved he knows how to negotiate trade deals that are favorable to Americans.