“It’s a bad economy. It’s not good for the Canadian or US economy, ”Bains said, calling the measures“ counterintuitive ”to the intent behind the renegotiated NAFTA deal.
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Trump’s move comes against the backdrop of the impending US election in November and the severe economic recession caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
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It also comes just one month after the renegotiated NAFTA came into effect, after years of work by Canadian, American and Mexican authorities to reach a new agreement.
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Trump previously used high tariffs on steel and aluminum as bargaining chips in these negotiations to pressure Canadian officials to give in to his demands.
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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who handled this renegotiation in her former role as Foreign Secretary, called the reimposition of aluminum tariffs on what are widely seen as dubious national security claims “ridiculous” .
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When asked whether Trump’s decision – carried out by executive order – rendered the renegotiation point moot, Bains said the updated deal still held value.
“We are very lucky to have negotiated a new NAFTA, » he said.
“I think we need to recognize that the United States is a critical market for Canada and that negotiating a new NAFTA provides stability, continuity and predictability for Canadian businesses, which means it’s good for Canadian workers who rely on businesses to make investments.. »
Bains was also asked about his announcement last week that the government has signed deals with Pfizer and Moderna to acquire millions of doses of the coronavirus vaccine candidates the companies are working on developing, if they are successful.
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The coronavirus pandemic is now extending into the sixth month of social and economic restrictions imposed on Canada in an attempt to limit the spread of the deadly virus.
But public health official Dr Theresa Tam warned last week that a vaccine, if developed, would not be a quick fix and restrictions will likely have to stay in place for two to three years.
Bains acknowledged the difficulty of predicting when a vaccine might be available, but said it remains essential for the government to invest in ensuring that Canadians have access to it if or when it arrives.
“It is difficult to say with precision when a vaccine will be developed,” he said.
“What we want to tell Canadians is that we are exploring all possible options.
There were 118,649 confirmed cases of the virus in Canada on Friday and 8,996 deaths.
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