Friday, June 21, 2019 - 10:12

MNI POLICY: Trump Praises Canada Trade Before China Meeting

By Greg Quinn

OTTAWA (MNI) - U.S. President Donald Trump praised closer trade ties with Canada and suggested the two nations will cooperate to pressure China before a crucial G-20 summit meeting on trade.

Trump met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Washington and ended meetings late Thursday with promises to coordinate supplies of key minerals, following China's threat to curb its own shipments abroad. The two leaders said they will cooperate to keep unfairly cheap metals out of North American markets.

Trump said he wants Congress to ratify the replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement known as USMCA, telling reporters and Trudeau it will help the U.S. take a stand against Europe and China on trade. Better relations with Canada may give Trump leverage at next week's G-20 meeting in Japan with President Xi Jinping. Trump demanded the meeting to force changes to China's trade practices and said otherwise they will face tariffs on another $325 billion of products.

U.S. praise of trade with Canada and Mexico is a reversal of the tariff threats and insults directed towards Trudeau that Trump made during earlier negotiations. The U.S. President also said he would discuss the case of two Canadians detained in China pending a trial on espionage -- allegations made after Canada began hearings to extradite a Huawei executive to the U.S.

Earlier this week, U.S. Senators said the Trump administration should use international pressure and not just tariffs to create fair trade with China. Tensions between the world's two biggest markets is also roiling the global economy, with the Fed on Wednesday signaling a rate cut may be needed for the first time in a decade.

The planned meeting between Chinese and U.S. presidents can only yield progress if the U.S. is willing to make a fair deal, the Global Times said in an editorial late Thursday. China is prepared for worst-case scenarios given the unstable attitude of the U.S., the newspaper said.

China's foreign ministry spokesman confirmed today that negotiators from the two nations will speak before the G-20, a sign of progress after he earlier declined to confirm U.S. reports the two leaders would even meet.

--MNI Ottawa Bureau; +1 613-314-9647; email:

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