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Canada-EU – Old Ties, New Trade Partners

Posted by on Feb 19, 2018

The following column was co-authored by Michael Woods and Gordon LaFortune and published today on Slaw.ca. For Canadian business, the threat of U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA is the biggest and most immediate challenge.  Without progress that satisfies the U.S. Administration, the current NAFTA negotiations may end with the U.S. issuing a Notice of Withdrawal that starts the six month clock on formal U.S. withdrawal from the Agreement and the market uncertainty that will likely follow. Canada can and will survive the U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA.   Canada and the U.S. have deep economic ties and market integration that will result in trade between the countries continuing, but on different terms.  To address the problem of dependence on the U.S. Market successive Canadian governments have looked to trade diversification, particularly since the economic downturn of 2008 and the sharp rise of U.S. protectionist measures like the “Buy America”.  The result of these efforts have been substantive trade initiatives in Europe and Asia-Pacific, including the 2017 Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement agreed between Canada and the European Union and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership which was just agreed between the remaining eleven states. However, Canadian government efforts to diversify trade through trade agreements cannot succeed on their own.  To truly diversify trade, Canadian business has to take steps to sell to customers in these new markets.  In light of the possible U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA and the uncertainty that will create, Canadian business should take the “America First” challenge as an invitation to lessen our dependence on the U.S. market and find new trading partners in Europe and Asia. NAFTA  The underlying impetus for the U.S. threat to NAFTA is a growing economic nationalism that has fueled an unapologetic ‘‘America First’’ platform.  At this stage, it is already creating uncertainty about NAFTA and the integrated market that the Canada economy relies upon.  As the United States shifts it focus to creating more jobs at the cost of championing economic liberalization and free trade many more sectors of the Canadian economy will be attacked  as fiercely as aircraft and lumber are now. The United States has failed to meet its...

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Wood, LaFortune LLP in Texas – Houston Strong!

Posted by on Oct 13, 2017

Last month Woods, LaFortune LLP was talking international trade in Texas as Gordon LaFortune and Jean-Marc Clément attended the Advanced Customs Compliance Conference that took place in Houston September 20-22. Jean-Marc, the firm’s Montreal- based counsel, was a speaker and he addressed the audience of over 300 trade compliance professionals on the Canadian perspective on the on-going NAFTA negotiations.  Joining him on the panel designed to give the audience views on NAFTA form Canada and Mexico was trade lawyer Brenda Cordova from the Mexico City based firm of Braumiller Law Group.  DeLeon Trade LLC, a trade compliance firm also based in Houston, organized the event which has become an important annual event for international trade experts.  Copies of our conference presentation are available upon...

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Woods, Lafortune LLP – The Indigenous Chapter – “not like the others”

Posted by on Sep 26, 2017

Invited to join other representatives of the various the stakeholders groups, Michael Woods is spending time at the site of the NAFTA Round 3 negotiations in Ottawa during the week of September 24th. His focus is on the Indigenous Peoples and SME files. The growing interest in Canada’s proposal for an Indigenous Chapter is reflected in recent interviews Michael had with Macleans and the Toronto Star. A member of the executive of the International Inter-tribal Trade and Investment Organization (IITIO), Michael works closely with the Chair, Wayne Garnons-Williams. Attached is a photo of Wayne and Michael with an Algonquin elder at a reception at the National Gallery of Canada held during Round 3. The event was hosted by the Canadian Council of International Law (CCIL) and The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and was held in honour of the negotiators for the three NAFTA...

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Woods, LaFortune LLP to Attend Round 3 of NAFTA Modernization Talks

Posted by on Sep 18, 2017

With the first two rounds of the NAFTA negotiations completed the next meeting is scheduled for Ottawa starting September 23rd.  Michael Woods has been invited to attend as an observer.  Global  Affairs Canada has undertaken to arrange on-going briefings and meetings upon request with Canada’s NAFTA Chief Negotiator and Deputy Chief Negotiator and subject-matter experts for observers during the round which is scheduled to continue until September 27th...

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Inside US Trade Interviews Michael Woods on NAFTA and Participation of Indigenous People

Posted by on Aug 23, 2017

Michael Woods and his International Inter-tribal Trade and Investment (IITIO) colleague, Wayne Garnons-Williams were interviewed by a leading American journal, Inside U.S. Trade, on the subject of Indigenous Peoples and their interest and future role in the negotiation of modern trade agreements. Michael spoke to the Nation to Nation aspect of the Government of Canada’s relationship with First Nations and what this meant in the context of the current NAFTA talks. With Canadian negotiators setting out an Indigenous Chapter as one of their objectives, this is subject to increasing interest.  See link to our earlier posting re the IITIO submission to the Government.  Also see link to the Inside U.S. Trade...

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