U.S. and Canadian flags
Flanker/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

A revised trade deal linking the U.S., Canada and Mexico was approved by the Senate Thursday, finalizing a years-long effort to update the pact.

U.S. Canada flags graphic
Flanker/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The North Country Chamber of Commerce is praising Thursday’s U.S. House approval of the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, a tri-lateral trade agreement meant to replace NAFTA.

U.S. and Canadian flags
Flanker/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Democrats in the U.S. House announced Tuesday that they had reached an agreement on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA. Border interests in the North Country have been waiting for the announcement and call it a substantial move to provide stability in cross border trade.

North Country Chamber's Business Expo 2019
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Every year, the North Country Chamber hosts a business expo, gathering representatives across industrial sectors in Plattsburgh to network and discuss issues.  During this year’s event in Plattsburgh, North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley asked exhibitors about cross-border trade and whether they had concerns about ratification of the USMCA — known as the new NAFTA.

President Trump tweeted on May 5th, that he would impose increased sanctions on China, potentially up to 25% on all products imported from China, if a new trade agreement was not reached, presumably by Friday, May 10th.  i The tariffs were imposed and the talks ended on Friday afternoon. In addition to the tariffs, the Chinese were refusing to go along with the US positions on issues like forced technology transfers (in exchange for doing business in China) and other enforcement tools that the US is seeking.  The only surprise here is that the administration is surprised. 

U.S. and Canadian flags
Flanker/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The U.S. International Trade Commission has released its analysis of the renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement now known as the USMCA or the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The North Country Chamber of Commerce is calling it a critical move toward Congressional approval and restoring certainty and predictability in cross border trade.

McGill University Professor Karl Moore
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Canadian government is reviewing the new agreement that replaces the tri-country trade pact long known as NAFTA. While there remain a few concerns, most ministers anticipate Parliament will ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, by late spring.  McGill University Desautels Faculty of Management Associate Professor Karl Moore is a regular contributor to the Globe and Mail, Forbes and hosts the CEO Series on CJAD radio in Montreal.   He tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley most Canadians are relieved that a new agreement has been reached.

Bill Owens: Trade Issues For The New Congress

Dec 12, 2018

I have commented on a number of occasions about the issues related to the passage of USMCA, Mr. Trump announced this past weekend at the G-20 summit that he will terminate NAFTA placing the ball squarely in Congress’s lap.  We will have USMCA or no agreement.  A question that remains open is, can Mr. Trump unilaterally take this action without Congressional approval.

Businesses attend International Trade Day in Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The North Country Chamber of Commerce held its first ever International Trade Day in Plattsburgh Wednesday.  The program brought together border officials and businesses to network and get updates on cross-border regulatory changes.

Examining The New North American Trade Deal

Oct 2, 2018
wikimedia commons/public domain

The usually placid relations between the United States and Canada were a bit choppy recently as negotiators from both nations faced a deadline to reach a trade agreement to replace NAFTA, the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement which President Trump once called a job-killing disaster. The U.S. reached an agreement with Mexico weeks ago and with time running out also reached an agreement with Canada that must be ratified by Congress. 

dairy cow

New York’s junior U.S. senator is calling for assurances that the state’s dairy industry will be protected in any NAFTA renegotiation with Canada. In a conference call Tuesday, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand said the president should reject any plan with unfair quotas and tariffs or that prevents producers from selling milk products in Canada.


WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses the live Berkshire D.A. Democratic primary debate today at the Fitzpatrick in Stockbridge, Mass. Dr. Chartock also shares his thoughts on NAFTA talks between the U.S. and Mexico.

Bill Owens: Is Trade Another Misdirection?

Aug 24, 2018

The answer to that question requires reading the latest tweet.  In terms of the two countries that have the most direct impact on the North Country, Canada and China, the game is still “on”. 

Quebec Delegate General in New York Jean-Claude Lauzon
Quebec Government Office in New York

Trade between New York and the Canadian province of Quebec is crucial to the Empire State. For example, Quebec exports more than $6 billion in goods to New York, and in Clinton County alone more than 180 Quebec-based companies have a presence.
Quebec Delegate General in New York Jean-Claude Lauzon, the province’s top diplomat in the United States, recently visited some of the Quebec-based businesses operating in the Plattsburgh area and met with regional officials.  Lauzon also spent some time discussing the impacts of federally imposed tariffs and NAFTA renegotiations on cross-border trade.

New England and eastern Canadian provincial flags
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A small group of protesters held signs and milled about the entry to the Stowe Mountain Lodge earlier this week as governors and premiers from around the Northeast met inside.

New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers meet in Stowe, VT
Pat Bradley/WAMC

At a fragile time in U.S.-Canada relations, the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers held their 42nd annual meeting in Stowe, Vermont this week.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik with North Country delegation and Canadian dignitaries in Ottawa
Office of Congresswoman Elise Stefanik

New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik led a delegation from the North Country to Ottawa, Canada Monday to discuss cross-border economic concerns.

Bill Owens: NAFTA - Round 7 With A Twist

Mar 8, 2018

The seventh round of NAFTA negotiations are set to begin in Mexico City in the next several weeks, with the word coming out of Canada that the Canadians are very pessimistic about this process.  In particular, they view the Americans as having little, if any, flexibility due to the policies and rhetoric of the Trump administration. 

Bill Owens: So Where Is NAFTA Now?

Jan 23, 2018

More and more commentators on both sides of the border are indicating that they believe Mr. Trump will withdraw from NAFTA. The Canadian government has undertaken a full court marketing blitz including government ministers to reach out to state governors, state legislators, members of Congress and economic developers in the many states with whom Canada does significant trade.

This has been a National Day of Action for critics of the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA. The critics, which include federal representatives from the region, want the current closed door renegotiations of the trade pact between the U.S., Canada and Mexico to be opened and are calling for labor-friendly provisions.

Bill Owens: We Stand Alone

Dec 5, 2017

The Trump administration continues to stand outside the playing field as others move forward with significant trade deals. The most recent evidence is the agreement of eleven nations to move forward with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) without U.S. participation. The new TPP Agreement includes not only Southeast Asian countries, but our neighbors, Canada and Mexico who are currently participants in NAFTA with us.

Bill Owens: NAFTA Update

Oct 19, 2017

It appears that few of the critical issues have been resolved in the first two rounds of negotiations. Most of the press reports and insider commentary indicates that the process is not going particularly well, which was confirmed by two recent events. On Friday, October 6, 2017, the announcement by the U.S.’ chief negotiator that vehicles would have to have a specific level of US content as opposed to NAFTA content is a significant departure from previous positions held by the United States, though no specifics were provided. On October 11, 2017 Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit included threats from Mr. Trump to withdraw from NAFTA.

Bill Owens: NAFTA Talks

Sep 1, 2017

The United States, Canada and Mexico had their first day of negotiations on Wednesday August 13th, 2017. Prior to the U.S. Trade Representatives, Robert Lighthizer, remarks it was difficult to determine the direction those negotiations might take and their impact on our region. Most of what takes place in Washington has little direct impact on our region. NAFTA is a major exception to that axiom. 

U.S. and Canadian flags
Flanker/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

New England governors and Eastern Canadian premiers are talking about Canadian-U.S. trade relations days after President Donald Trump threatened to abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement.

North Country Business Expo 2017
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada has been in effect for more than two decades.  President Donald Trump has promised to renegotiate the deal.  During a business expo in Plattsburgh last week, WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley discovered that many businesses in the border region aren’t worried about the pending negotiations.

Bill Owens: Trump's Canadian Teeter-Totter

Mar 31, 2017

We are all familiar with the children’s playground equipment known as a teeter-totter. As I pondered Mr. Trump’s Canadian policy, that toy came to mind. During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump touted the fact that he would tear up NAFTA or renegotiate it. Following the election, he doubled down with little or no substance nor indication as to what his actual concerns or plans were. The selection of Mr. Ross as secretary of commerce and Mr. Navarro as a trade advisor brought a decidedly hostile view of trade agreements to the administration.

The presidential candidates have sent a spark into the free-trade wood pile.  Think softwood lumber—as “in the weeds” as it gets.

It seems most of the media coverage and much of the country is focused on the presidential election of 2016. What will impact your life more: oil and China, or presidential politics?