Canada 'naive' to think we have the upper hand in NAFTA: W. Brett Wilson
One of Canada’s most outspoken investors, Brett Wilson, says Canada is being “delusional, naïve” and even “stupid” by continually producing the United States with trade challenges.
Canada has launched a trade complaint against Washington, the World Trade Organization said on Wednesday, outlining nearly 200 instances of alleged trade violations committed by the U.S. The complaint was made public amid growing concerns that President Donald Trump will announce that the U.S. is withdrawing from North American Free Trade Agreement.
Wilson – one of Canada’s most outspoken investors – calls Canada’s decision to hit back “naive.”
“They’re naive if they’re going to put some of the things they’ve put on the table and not believe that the other side is going to push back and say: ‘Nuh-uh. We don’t like those. And, in fact, we don’t like many of the things that are on the table right now,’” Wilson, chairman of Prairie Merchant, told BNN in an interview Wednesday.
Wilson’s criticism echoes that of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who called the complaint "a broad and ill-advised attack on the U.S. trade remedies system."
Canada has previously protested duties and tariffs slapped on softwood lumber and Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft during the ongoing trilateral NAFTA renegotiations.
One of Canada’s priorities in those negotiations has been the preservation of Chapter 19, NAFTA’s mechanism for resolving trade disputes between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.
Wilson says clinging to the protections they had previously been offered under the deal won’t get Canada anywhere.
“Look what happened with softwood lumber,” he told BNN. “We’re not getting anywhere on that platform very quick. And, of course, supply management around dairy and eggs and other products, that’s all going by the wayside.”
“Delusional, naive, or stupid: It doesn’t matter. Any one of those applies to our negotiating team if they think that we’ve got the upper hand. We don’t. We’re the size of California, and we’re not all that smart.”