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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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Gordon LaFortune and Michael Woods Join Slaw.ca as Columnists

Posted by on Feb 16, 2018

Michael Woods and Gordon LaFortune of the Ottawa and Montreal-based international trade law firm, Woods, LaFortune LLP, are pleased to announce that they will be writing a new column for Canada’s online legal magazine Slaw.ca. Starting this Monday, February 18th, Gordon and Michael will offer bi-monthly contributions on such matters of interest as the ongoing NAFTA re-negotiations, Canada’s new trade agreements (e.g. CETA, CPTPP), current WTO cases, and latest developments in trade remedies, import and export controls, and economic sanctions. Founded in 2005, Slaw is Canada’s largest co-operative legal publication attracting more than a million readers each year.  Slaw’s team consists of twenty weekly bloggers and more than sixty columnists who have collectively published more than 15,000 daily entries about law and its practice. Contributors hail from across the country and around the world. Slaw’s audience is primarily lawyers, law librarians, and others working in or studying law; and the site’s aim is to “share knowledge, offer advice and instruction, and occasionally provoke.” Woods, LaFortune LLP is a trade law boutique that advises a global client base on the full range of international trade and investment...

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Michael Woods Attends Round Six of NAFTA Negotiations in Montreal

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018

Participating on behalf of client stakeholders and as a member of part Global Affairs Canada Indigenous Working Group, Michael Woods attended Round Six of the NAFTA negotiation in Montreal January 22-29.  During the week in Montreal, Michael had the opportunity to meet and exchange views with Canadian negotiators, the many other stakeholders in attendance, and members of the media [see photo of Michael and Don Newman].  On January 27, Michael attended a Canadian American Business Council (CABC) lunch where he met members of a senior delegation of the U.S. Congressional Ways and Means subcommittee on Trade.  The delegation was in Montreal to meet Canadian and Mexican officials and to get an in-person sense of the status of the negotiations [photo].  Led by Subcommittee Chair Dave Reichert (R-Washington), the delegation included Representatives Adrian Smith (R-Nebraska), Tom Rice (R-S. Carolina), Mike Bishop (R-Michigan), Will Hurd (R-Texas), Patrick Meehan (R-Pennsylvania), Bill Pascrell (D-New Jersey), Sander Levin (D-Michigan), Suzan DelBene (D-Washington), Terri Sewell (D-Alabama), and Brian Higgins (D-New...

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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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