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Results: 1 - 15 of 346
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
It's a pleasure to be in front of your committee. It's my first time in front of any committee as foreign minister. I'm delighted to be here with Steve Verheul and Michael Grant from our ministry.
Canada and the United States have a unique and incomparable relationship. We enjoy the world's largest trading relationship and the longest undefended border. We are strong allies on the world stage and work together to protect the natural environment in our two countries, but we are also guided by the objective of reducing emissions globally. No two nations depend more on each other for their mutual prosperity and success. About 2.7 billion dollars' worth of goods and services cross our shared border every day. Roughly three-quarters of Canada's exports go to the United States.
In February, mere weeks after his inauguration, President Biden chose to renew a tradition. His first meeting with a world leader would be with Prime Minister Trudeau. They talked about the importance of a shared vision for clean, sustainable growth that creates opportunities and strengthens the middle class on both sides of the border. Following this meeting, they announced the road map for a renewed U.S.-Canada partnership to revitalize and expand our historic relationship. The road map is a blueprint to expand our co-operation in many critical areas, including in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in building cleaner, fairer and more inclusive economies for everyone.
Following this meeting, I talked to Secretary Blinken about pursuing the work undertaken by our two leaders. We agreed to work together with like-minded partners to promote our fundamental values around the world, values such as democracy and human rights, on issues including the challenges posed by China, the rise of authoritarianism, and the arbitrary detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. The U.S. assures us of their unequivocal and unwavering support in calling for their release. Secretary Blinken and I have also discussed the importance of working together to build back in an inclusive way from COVID, as well as co-operating on migration issues.
We also agreed to refuse needless protectionism. We all recognized that the economic recovery, both in the United States and in Canada, will be quicker, stronger and more sustainable if we act together. For that reason, President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau launched a new strategy to strengthen the resilience and reliability of our supply chain, which is so critical to the prosperity of our two countries, and which has been and remains essential in our pandemic response.
Workers and businesses are not just exchanging goods; they produce them together so that they would be used here and around the world. Concretely, most of the U.S. imports coming from Canada already contain American products. The two countries understand very well that it is crucial to avoid unexpected consequences of poorly thought out protectionist policies.
Canada is a predictable and stable partner for the U.S. and is also its closest ally. We work together to ensure that our mutual prosperity and our national security would be supported by a solid and resistant supply chain.
We know full well that the Buy America policies negatively impact our cross-border trade, as well as our American interests. That is why Prime Minister Trudeau and Vice-President Harris agreed in February to avoid the unexpected consequences of those types of policies. What is more, last month, Deputy Prime Minister Freeland and Vice-President Harris discussed the importance of free trade, especially in the context of proposals surrounding Buy America policies.
Our two countries also recognize the vital role natural resources play in our trade relations. Canada is the largest energy supplier to the United States, and that includes oil, natural gas, hydroelectricity, as well as uranium. It is essential for us to work together to ensure a sustainable and predictable provision of resources for North America and the entire world.
Energy underpins our exports. It supports the economy, jobs and competitiveness on both sides of the border. It provides energy, security and resiliency to North America, and supporting Line 5's continued operation remains a top priority now and in the future through Enbridge's tunnel project.
We work tirelessly through Canada's diplomatic network in the U.S. to promote and strengthen the energy relationship. Our shared desire to ensure greater energy security on the continent is coupled with our shared commitment to create jobs in a clean, sustainable economy of the future that both protects our natural environment and addresses the existential threat of climate change while creating opportunities in the energy sector of the future.
We agreed with the U.S. administration to take a coordinated approach to accelerating progress towards sustainable, resilient and clean energy infrastructure, including encouraging the development of cross-border clean electricity transmission. We have also agreed to align policies to achieve a zero-emission vehicle future and to create the necessary supply chains to make Canada and the U.S. global leaders in battery development and production, so every citizen can participate in the transition to cleaner energies and renewable energy storage.
Under the new road map, we will also launch a high-level climate ministerial to increase our climate ambitions consistent with the Paris Agreement and net-zero objectives, while holding polluters accountable.
Beyond economic recovery and energy security, Canada and the U.S. also collaborate closely on defence, both at home and abroad, notably through multilateral organizations.
Over the short and medium terms, we will expand our cooperation in terms of defence on the continent and in the Arctic, including by modernizing the North American Aerospace Defence Command, NORAD, and by launching a broader dialogue between the United States and Canada on the Arctic.
We are currently going through a landmark and very exciting moment in our relationship with the United States. Over the next few years, Canada will have an array of opportunities to work with the Biden administration, and we are in a very good position to take advantage of those opportunities.
Thank you for listening. It would be my pleasure to answer your questions.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Of course, you quoted somebody back in 2014 talking about manufacturing and encouraging Canadian companies to buy American companies. To some extent, that has happened, as it has the other way as well. We do both as countries; we invest in each other.
Since that time, of course, we renegotiated very successfully the NAFTA 2.0 agreement, the CUSMA agreement, and I believe that Canada came out of that with a very good free trade agreement with the United States. It was modernized and it defended all the important priorities we had as a country.
The situation is such that trade between our two countries.... I did point out that goods and services—we're now talking about over $2 billion a day—are flowing between the two countries. It's obviously slowed down somewhat by COVID-19, but we took a team Canada approach in making sure our neighbours to the south were aware of the strongly integrated supply chains that exist between our two countries. As a result of that approach, we were able to come out with a very good deal for Canada and for Canadian manufacturers, and we will be cognizant of that as we go forward.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Yes. I'm glad you brought up the example of the automotive sector, because it's probably the most important illustration of how tightly integrated our supply chains are. As you point out, products go back and forth across the border before they end up in a finished car. The automobile sector has been very well protected in the renegotiated Canada-U.S.-Mexico trade agreement and will continue to be protected as we go forward.
The United States recognizes very clearly that this is a strong example of where there can be unintended consequences with protectionist policies. We're going to make sure that the United States continues to understand that. We're confident that they will as we go forward, and particularly as we transition from internal combustion engine cars to electric cars. We're confident that this message will continue to be carried to our neighbours to the south.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
I'm very glad you brought that up. Yes, we are specifically talking about different groups who would be potentially considered to be essential workers who need to cross the border for specific reasons. That could be technicians in the automobile industry. We are currently looking at that to see if we can refine our essential workers list as we move forward.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Let me start by differentiating between buy American and buy America, which were brought up. We're exempted from buy American because of World Trade Organization government procurement regulations. Buy America, however, as I mentioned in my opening remarks, was pretty much the first subject that the Prime Minister brought up with President Biden when he met him on February 23. At the same time, the Prime Minister spoke to Vice-President Harris, as I mentioned. Our Minister of Finance has also spoken with the Vice-President about the unintended consequences that could happen as a result of buy America policies. These are unintended in the sense that products we sell to the United States already have, on average, 21% American content in them, and if those products are blocked from being sold in the United States, then the United States is effectively cutting off its nose to spite its face because of that highly integrated nature.
That is the message we carry across to the United States. I believe we did this very successfully, with a great deal of effort, in the team Canada approach we used for about two years when CUSMA was being renegotiated. We will use a similar approach to remind our American neighbours of the importance of maintaining supply chains and keeping exports open to Canada, because this is not only in Canada's interests but in the interests of Americans.
We were successful with CUSMA and we intend to be successful with buy America.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
In the team Canada approach, we obviously had people like Chrystia Freeland and Steve Verheul negotiating on our behalf for the new NAFTA treaty, but at the same time, I was involved, along with many other government ministers and MPs, in speaking directly to American lawmakers and governors. We pointed out to them that they may not know it, but we are their chief export destination; we are in many cases the country from which they import the most, and there are many jobs in their state because of that.
That's the kind of hard information we shared with our American colleagues to point out exactly what the implications of trade between the two countries are. We believe that we met with some success on that, because we think we ended up with a good treaty. That's the approach we will continue to take as we move forward and as some of the buy America legislation, which still has to go through Congress, is implemented.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you for the question.
As you said, the tariffs were revised downward, but the work is certainly not done. Canada's position has remained the same since the beginning, several decades ago: it is unfair and unwarranted for the United States to impose duties on Canadian softwood lumber. That is our position, which we maintain. We vigorously defend the Canadian industry's interests, including through the proceedings brought under chapter 19 of NAFTA and chapter 10 of CUSMA, as well as before the WTO. So we are defending our interests in those two different forums.
Canada continues to believe that it is in the two countries' best interest to conclude an agreement. We will remain ready and willing to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. The high tariffs on softwood lumber are being maintained despite the new U.S. administration. That is something our two countries have discussed.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Unfortunately, the discussions take time, as certain positions are entrenched. That said, this is not the first time we find ourselves in this situation. Unless I'm mistaken, I believe that this is the fourth or fifth time we have had this legal dispute between our two countries. We won the first four times and we certainly plan to use the same arguments this time.
We are encouraged by the fact that we definitely have important allies in the United States right now because the construction industry is booming there, and there is great need for softwood lumber from Canada.
So we will continue to present to our American colleagues the same arguments that helped us win this dispute the four previous times.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
As I said, we invoked chapter 10 of CUSMA, but these negotiations take time. This did not happen overnight the last four times.
I know that this sometimes puts our industry in difficult positions. However, we are here to support it, as we have said.
The process has to follow its due course. Sometimes, when a dispute comes before a court of justice, it can take time. We are all anxious to have this resolved, but we have to be patient.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
I am not a lawyer, so I don't want to speculate on what this involves. It is certainly something we have to deal with, but I could not tell you how it will end. We have to wait for the WTO to come to a final decision. For the time being, we will have to wait to see what happens.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
I cannot give you specific answers. As you know, the new administration has been in power for only three months. I could refer this to my colleague Steve Verheul, who may have information, but I also want to mention that we are at the very beginning of our relationship with the new administration. I think it would be premature to presume what its position on the softwood lumber issue is.
So I turn to Mr. Verheul should he want to add anything.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Masse, for your opening comment. I want to thank you for bringing to my attention the transportation of dangerous goods over the bridges. That was a good example of a team effort between two parties and also two individuals in the Government of Canada. I appreciate that very much.
I know you are very concerned, as are a number of local government officials, with respect to the Windsor airport. As I have explained to you in the past, at the moment the organization called NavCan, which is responsible for air control in our country, decided some time ago to re-evaluate the service needs of different airports across the country.
I'm no longer at Transport, but as far as I know they have not made any final decisions. They are responsible, and they are an arm's-length organization. We have to allow them to do their work. Hopefully they will take into account all the factors you and others, such as the mayor of Windsor, have brought up.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
You raise an important point. In a broader context, if I can talk about other critical materials, let me talk about critical minerals as an example. That will be very important in the transition towards electric vehicles, and they are also used in a lot of electronic products. I know both Canada and the Biden administration are looking at those considerations very carefully because, as you pointed out, they're critical elements in the supply chain.
One of the things we're doing as we move forward is ensuring that in both countries, for industries we strongly support, we look at all the different methods available to us to ensure we have that availability with respect to certain critical components.
I know the United States is looking at integrated circuits, but I know Canada also has the potential to be extremely helpful in the area of critical minerals because we're rich in that area. We're looking at North American self-sufficiency with respect to certain critical components.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
I sit on the COVID committee, and we are constantly evaluating border policy. It's probably fair to say that the number one driver in making any decision is the health and safety of Canadians.
Having said that, the situation is gradually changing and we are very sensitive to the need to recover our economies. We are looking at fine-tuning the process, so in some cases we will examine whether certain classes of workers who aren't on the original list of essential workers need to have access across the border.
Those are the kinds of things we're looking at as we move forward and improve our processes with respect to getting people checked before they cross the border, getting people checked after they cross the border, and refining our quarantine regulations. All those things are being dynamically examined at the moment by all the relevant people.
We are talking to stakeholders and they are certainly talking to us, especially from industry but also from the United States, where some groups want to reopen the border more quickly. However, we have to always bear in mind that the number one consideration is the health and safety of Canadians. They have to—
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