Next Steps in U.S. -Canada Trade Relations

On Tuesday, July 7, 2020, the Meridian Corporate Council hosted a Global Business Briefing with H.E. Kristen Hillman, who was appointed Canada's Ambassador to the United States of America in March 2020, the first woman to serve in the role. Ambassador Hillman is a trained lawyer, a longtime Canadian public servant, and has extensive international trade experience. She recently played a central role in the effort to renegotiate NAFTA.    

The convening began with introductory remarks from Governor James Blanchard, Former Meridian Trustee and U.S. Ambassador to Canada, and Mr. Frank Samolis, Co-Chair of the International Trade Practice at Squire Patton Boggs. Meridian and its Corporate Council had the opportunity to learn about the U.S.– Canada economic cooperation, the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and the global COVID-19 response.   

Ambassador Hillman opened the discussion with remarks on the strong economic, historical, and ancestral ties between Canada and the United States on global matters ranging from health security to national security. Canada and the United States have one of the world's largest investment relationships, totaling $721 billion in traded goods and services in 2018. Despite the magnitude of border crossings and commercial activity on the U.S.-Canada border, both countries agreed to limit all non-essential travel across the border.   

The conversation continued with an emphasis on the implementation of the USMCA, which came into force on July 1. The agreement includes country of origin rules for automobile manufacturers, labor and environmental rules, and protections surrounding intellectual property, among other new provisions. Ambassador Hillman also affirmed that benefits to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) were a key policy objective of the agreement. Issue areas remain in U.S.-Canada economic cooperation, namely the aluminum industry and discussions surrounding Section 232 tariffs on Canadian goods. While trade agreements naturally present a challenge to both parties, the implementation of USMCA initiates a new era of trade cooperation across the continent. 

Full webinar here.

Project summary

Next Steps in U.S. -Canada Trade Relations | July 2020
Number of Attendees: 78
Regions: Western Hemisphere
Countries: Canada
Impact Areas: Business and Trade
Program Areas: Diplomacy
Partners: Private Sector