Canada is getting ready for the possible return of Donald Trump to the US presidency.

Canada is getting ready for the possible return of Donald Trump to the US presidency.

The United States is the main trading partner for several nations, including Colombia. Hence, what happens politically in that country impacts the economy of much of the globe. For Canada, the relationship with Washington represents an even greater challenge. Well, in addition to sharing the largest border in the world, along 9,000 kilometers through which 400,000 people pass daily, bilateral trade adds up to US$925,000 million a year.

For this reason, CCanada has been preparing for what could well be a second era of trade protectionism in the event that Donald Trump once again occupies the Oval Office. This is in response to the warning made during the campaign by the former president, who assured that if he returned to power he would seek to impose a 10% tariff on all imports. Which would put several Canadian industrial sectors in trouble.

This risk is recognized by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet. Although this time, unlike eight years ago, there is no specific renegotiation on the horizon, except for the mandatory review that must be made in 2026 to the agreement signed with the US and Mexico to replace Nafta, Canada It has been gathering strategic allies to confront possible protectionist or isolationist measures. No matter which party reaches the White House.

“What we have learned from the last Trump administration is that he will say things that seem outrageous, but you have to listen to him when he says them because he will do them. I think that's something we know. This is how we must and need to understand it,” says the Canadian ambassador in Washington, Kirsten Hillman.

Against this backdrop, Canada revived the 'US Trade Forum'. An entity that convenes Canadian companies for the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council, and that had not been cited since September 2019, when Donald Trump was president.

“This is a useful space because we prefer that problems do not reach the area of ​​​​a commercial dispute. “I am going to work with other ministries to bring their attention to the issues that I have heard,” said the president of the Treasury Board, Anita Anand, after the session held in the province of British Columbia.

In January, Minister Trudeau himself spoke about efforts to deepen the relationship with his closest ally and trading partner. This in the midst of an environment of uncertainty. Today, three in four Canadians believe that relations between Canada and the United States will worsen if Donald Trump is elected to replace Joe Biden.

While seeking to guarantee stability in the bilateral trade relationship, the Trudeau government has been seeking greater diversification of its exports to Europe, Asia, and the Pacific. Canada is the only G7 country that has a free trade agreement with all the other nations that make up that group. Which gives preferential access to more than 1.5 billion consumers. However, the exchange with the United States, due to ease and strategic location, is the most important.

“We understand the integrated nature of our relationship, but south of the border I'm not sure they always think that way,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Canada's industry minister.

Another relevant issue is the agreements to address irregular migration. In 2022, around 40,000 people crossed irregularly from the United States to Canada, most of them from countries outside North America. For this reason, a year ago both countries extended the application of the Safe Third Country Agreement (Stca) to the entire border. Which is based on the premise that asylum seekers should seek protection in the first safe country they arrive at.