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Canada threatens to scrap arms buy as trade talks get off to rough start

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13th-Oct-2017       
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AFP, Washington :
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau threatened Wednesday to cancel a major arms buy from the US over a tariffs row, as talks on a North American free trade deal got off to a rocky start.
Ottawa was set to purchase 18 new Super Hornets fighter jets from Boeing until the American aerospace firm successfully petitioned the Trump administration to impose anti-dumping penalties on its Canadian rival Bombardier over planes sold in the US market.
"I highlighted to the president how we disagreed, vehemently, with Commerce's decision to bring in countervailing and anti-dumping duties against Bombardier," Trudeau told reporters following talks with US President Donald Trump.
Further, "attempts by Boeing to put tens of thousands of aerospace workers out of work across Canada is not something we look on positively. And I certainly mentioned that this was a block to us purchasing any-making any military procurements from Boeing."
His comments came after Trump had previewed "a tough negotiation" over NAFTA-a quarter-century-year-old trade pact that also includes Mexico.
Trump has made revamping the pact and reducing US trade deficits a core pillar of his election campaign, but has not set out exactly what changes he would like to make.
"If we can't make a deal, it'll be terminated and that will be fine," Trump said, using his typical bare-knuckle approach to top level diplomacy.  "It has to be fair to both countries."
As the pair sat down, trade negotiators huddled nearby in the Washington suburb of Arlington, Virginia for another round of talks, complicated by the aerospace spat.
The US administration, having found Bombardier guilty of receiving state subsidies, slapped a 220 percent countervailing duty on Bombardier CS100 and CS300 aircraft imported into the United States.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced that talks had been extended by 48 hours and would conclude on Tuesday.

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