Trump files formal 90-day notice for NAFTA talks
Ottawa is ready to play hardball as trade tension heats up with the United States. Chrystia Freeland put Boeing (BA.N) on notice over its dumping claims against Bombardier (BBDb.TO). The foreign affairs minister was blunt: The feds “will defend the interests of Bombardier” and a big military order with Boeing could be at risk. This came just hours after the White House launched the countdown to NAFTA negotiations.
Trade, indisputably, will be the underlying theme for much of our coverage in the days, weeks and months to come.
We'll focus a little bit more on what the U.S. (and, evidently, its companies that take aim Canadian counterparts) can expect from Chrystia Freeland at the negotiating table. She famously walked out of CETA negotiations when Wallonia threatened to scupper that deal. Should we expect anything less from her with the Americans?
From a strategy perspective, is the Trudeau government’s full-court press in D.C. (and throughout the States) going to pay off? Should the ministers keep knocking on doors while waiting for the negotiations to begin, or hunker down at home?
Strictly on NAFTA: Which sector(s) will Canada protect as sacred cows, and which will be used as trade-offs?
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COUCHE-TARD FOUNDER TO BNN: WE WANT TO CRACK ASIA
Jon Erlichman caught up with Alain Bouchard at the Canadian Business Hall of Fame gala last night. The inductee told Erlichman he’s “not done” with the company’s expansion, going on to add “obviously we would like to be in Asia.” Bouchard noted Couche-Tard (ATDb.TO) already has some licensing arrangements in that continent, but he says his empire wants to be on the ground there with its own equity. We’ll run the full interview today. We should try to follow it up with an analyst on possible targets. The Bouchard interview, along with Jon’s chats with fellow honourees Nancy Southern and Clay Riddell, will air today.
HOME CAPITAL DEPOSITORS SHOW SOME CONFIDENCE
For the first time since crisis struck Home Capital (HCG.TO), the lender is posting an upturn in its deposit base. The high interest savings account balance rose to $120.2 million on Wednesday from $116.8 million the previous day. A one-day anomaly? A sign fear has been exhausted? An early indication that the board renewal is paying off? Or something else entirely? We'll stay on this file.
WATSA ON TRUMP’S TWEETING AND U.S. OUTLOOK
Prem Watsa is one of this country’s most famous investors. BNN was at his speech in downtown Toronto yesterday. In the Q&A, he was asked about his global economic outlook in light of the Trump presidency and was also asked for his advice to Donald Trump.
JASON KENNEY PUTS TRUDEAU ON NOTICE
Alberta PC leader Jason Kenney, fresh off announcing the plan to merge with the Wildrose Party, raised the stakes in his crusade against carbon pricing. He made it clear on CTV's Power Play that if he’s premier, his first order of business will be to repeal the existing tax in Alberta. And if Justin Trudeau tries to impose a federal tax on Alberta, Kenney said he “will link arms with Premier Brad Wall and sue the federal government.” Kenney added carbon taxes are “all economic pain” that serve to drive investment dollars elsewhere. We’ll chase reaction from some energy CEOs in Alberta and we’ve got Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna on Business Day AM around 8:45 a.m. ET.
CANADIAN DATA DUMP
Canadian consumers bounced back in March, with today's StatsCan data showing retail sales rose 0.7 per cent in March after a sharp drop in the previous month. But retailers might not want to uncork the bubbly just yet. Joe Fresh Founder Joe Mimran told BNN this morning there's an "existential crisis" in the sector. Watch for that full interview on BNN.ca later this morning. Also from the national data agency this morning, we learned inflation held steady in April at 1.6 per cent - surely fodder for the Bank of Canada as it prepares to deliver an interest rate announcement next week.
OTHER NOTABLE STORIES
- Ontario announced changes to pension solvency funding obligations today, in a nod to the reality funds face amid low interest rates.
- CTV News is reporting Ontario will release a feasibility study today on high-speed rail line spanning from Toronto to Windsor.
- Laurentian Bank raising up to $216M in bought deal subscription receipt sale to help finance its purchase of Northpoint Commercial Finance. Receipts priced at $51.70 each. LB shares closed yesterday at $53.57.
8:30 a.m. ET: Joe Fresh Founder Joe Mimran
3 p.m. ET: Economic Advisory Council Member Ken Courtis
Notable data: Canadian CPI (8:30 a.m. ET), Canadian retail sales (8:30 a.m. ET)
Notable earnings: Deere & Co. (DE.N)
9:45 a.m. ET: Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne making announcement alongside provincial transportation and deputy premier in London.
11:30 a.m. ET: Transport Minister Marc Garneau holds media avail in Montreal.
12 p.m. ET: Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne meets with Google employees in Kitchener, makes announcement, holds media availability.
12:45 p.m. ET: Justin Trudeau discusses Canada Child Benefit and holds media avail in Surrey, B.C.
12:45 p.m. ET: Technical briefing on Justin Trudeau’s upcoming trip to NATO meeting and G7 summit.
2:10 p.m. ET: Donald Trump departs for Saudi Arabia