BZ (that’s the naval flag hoist used to signal “well done”) to Team Trudeau, especially to Foreign Minister (formerly Trade Minister) Chrystia Freeland because, against the odds, the Globe and Mail reports, the European Parliament in Strasbourg has approved the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and “Phase-in of the vast majority of the deal’s benefits, including elimination of 99 per cent of tariffs on goods, is expected to begin within weeks … [but] … Passage comes as the promise of freer trade is under threat amid rising protectionism, in the United States and elsewhere. Since CETA was negotiated, Britain has voted to leave the European Union, Donald Trump has moved to pull the United States out of the massive 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership and talks on a U.S.-European free-trade deal have fallen dormant.“
Let me be very clear about a couple of things:
- First ~ this is Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s trade deal, and it’s a good deal, too, and he deserves most of the credit and his country’s sincere thanks. All that Prime Minister Trudeau and the Trade Minister Freeland had to do was to not screw it all up. That they managed is to their credit because I suspect they were counselled to try to ditch anything with Mr Harper’s name on it;
- Second ~ it is only the first of many, many, hard steps. Because of the prevailing mood in many parts of the world negotiating more, and even better trade deals is going to be an uphill struggle. But we need more And even better trade deals, beginning with a renegotiated NAFTA and including, somehow, either joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal or finding some other way to elbow our way into a Pan-Pacific free(er) trade area; and
- Third ~ despite not screwing this up, I still do not think that Justin Trudeau is even a below average prime minister and I doubt that Ms Freeland is much of a foreign minister, either.
But, for now, BZ to Team Trudeau and to the EU … now back to work!