The House

Diversifying trade must focus on like minds: Minister

Part of moving a larger portion of Canada's trade market away from the U.S. must include working with other nations who share Canada's perspective, according to the new trade diversification minister.
Jim Carr hugs Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after being sworn in as Minister of International Trade during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 18, 2018. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)
Listen8:56

Part of moving a larger portion of Canada's trade market away from the U.S. must include working with other nations who share Canada's perspective, according to the new trade diversification minister.

Jim Carr told The House international relationships will become increasingly important in the coming months  — especially when it comes to oil and gas.

"The importance of expanding the export market is pretty obvious," he said.

Despite his mandate to diversify, Carr was in Pennsylvania this week to talk about trade and investment between the two countries.  

When asked about focusing his attentions on Canada's southern neighbour, he said that's not the only trade outreach in the works.

The summer cabinet switch brought about many changes, including shuffling one man from a battle over a pipeline to the front lines of a trade war. The new Minister of International Trade Diversification Jim Carr joins us. 8:56

"It's a big world out there," he said.

Canada will host a trade ministers' meeting in October to discuss the World Trade Organization. China and the U.S. have been left off the guest list.

The minister said Canada's focus is on working with nations who have similar goals, but wouldn't explicitly say whether he believed those two countries didn't fit the mould.

While meetings are ongoing, the NDP has asked the Liberals to start a task force to tackle tariffs.

Canada's ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton talks to Power & Politics. 8:38

The unpredictability of the U.S.-Canada relationship is hurting smaller companies, Tracey Ramsay, the party's trade critic, explained.

"There doesn't seem to be a clear path here," she said.  "That's not a good situation for businesses."

While the president fires new insults at Canada almost weekly, Scotty Greenwood, CEO of the Canadian American Business Council, says there is some consistency to be gleaned from that.

"I think he's pretty transparent, he wants a better deal for the United States," she said, adding it's time for Canada to come to the negotiating table willing to make concessions.

"The time for posturing is over."

This week three MPs from the Windsor area called on Ottawa to create a national task force on trade tariffs. Is that the best way to deal with the Trump Administration? NDP trade critic Tracy Ramsey and Scotty Greenwood, CEO of the Canadian American Business Council discuss. 8:33