US Pushes Canada on Privacy and Agricultural Market Access

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (OUSTR) is on Canada’s case.  At least Canada is reporting it’s first trade surplus in five months–with exports at levels not seen since 2008.

Huffington Post recycles some old news on U.S. efforts to loosen Canadian privacy laws so U.S. firms can have access to Canadian IT contracts.  Whether privacy laws represent prudent restrictions on trade or protectionist measures is likely in the eye of the beholder.  (BTB aside:  Different privacy regimes in Canada and the United States also impact the Beyond the Border (BTB) Action Plan.)

And thespec.com provides an excellent recap of the Canadian issues that came up during OUSTR head Michael Froman’s testimony on the White House’s trade policy last week to the House Ways and Means committee:

The administration’s trade representative provided an update Thursday on negotiations toward a historic, 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

“On Canada, it’s the only country in TPP that has not yet given us a market-access offer on agricultural issues like dairy and poultry,” Michael Froman told a congressional panel.

“We are pressing them to do so. Because those are important priorities for us… We’re addressing their priorities in a number of ways. And we want them to come to the table as part of an overall package.”

Canada’s supply-management system sets limits on the production and imports of certain products, potentially limiting choices and bargains for consumers while protecting farmers.

Canada has already promised to relax some of the import limits on European cheese in its recently concluded trade agreement with the EU, and the Americans appear to expect similar concessions.

Whether it’s trade deals, privacy regimes, or the long-delayed completion of a U.S. customs plaza at the Blue Water Bridge, the Canada-U.S. relationship continues to be an impressively multifaceted and under-appreciated bilateral relationship

And  Canada just posted it’s first trade surplus in five months–thanks to an impressive uptick in American demand.

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