Calgary

Trump trade policies could be good for Alberta in short term: RBC economist

A chief RBC economist says Donald Trump's U.S. presidency is likely to have positive and negative implications for Alberta. Eric Lascelles says as a large trading partner, our province is likely to benefit from the U.S. economy potentially moving a bit more quickly in the short term.

'Our strong suspicion is we won't see tariffs on the scale of what has been discussed'

RBC Global Asset Management chief economist Eric Lascelles spoke in Calgary on Thursday about the potential impact of U.S. President Donald Trump's policies on the Albertan economy. (Erin Collins/CBC)

A chief RBC economist says Donald Trump's U.S. presidency is likely to have positive and negative implications for Alberta.

Eric Lascelles says as a large trading partner, our province is likely to benefit from the U.S. economy potentially moving a bit more quickly in the short term.

But he says protectionist trade policies — such as a possible border tax on crude — would have consequences for Canadian exports. 

"So there's this odd push and pull in which pipelines make it easier to bring Alberta crude into the U.S. and yet at the same time it might prove a little bit more daunting to actually sell that at a profit given either tariffs or some form of punishment for the privilege of actually using those pipelines," he said.

Lascelles spoke to media in Calgary after addressing a luncheon hosted by the Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute. 

Canada probably doesn't have much to fear from the Trump administration's protectionist trade policies, said Lascelles. 

New U.S. trade plans could hit Canadian exports from cars to crude, and there are concerns about the impact if Trump indeed follows through on renegotiating NAFTA.

Lascelles says such moves could actually weaken the U.S. economy because they will result in higher inflation and less growth.

"Our strong suspicion is we won't see tariffs on the scale of what has been discussed in campaign platforms and in tweets," he said. "However, that's not to say there won't be any whatsoever. Likely it will be just a scaled down version."

Lascelles says Canada should be watching protectionism, but doesn't believe the consequences will be as severe as some imagine.

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