The Uncertainty of the Deal: US Trade Policy and Canadian M&A

Posted By: Karen Fisman

In the opening pages of Trump: The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump describes his work style:

“I play it very loose…I prefer to come to work each day and just see what develops.”

This approach was recently highlighted in President Donald Trump’s rumblings about trade policy with Canada. Last week, after a visit to Wisconsin, he remarked that “[i]n Canada, some very unfair things have happened to our dairy farmers, and others, and we're going to start working on that.” This was followed by an announcement that a tariff of approximately 20% would be imposed on Canadian softwood lumber imported to the U.S..  Then came media reports that Trump was going to sign an executive order withdrawing the U.S. from NAFTA, a plan that was reversed after emergency calls with Mexican President Peña Nieto and our own Prime Minister Trudeau.  Thursday morning, President Trump tweeted: “Relationships are good – deal very possible!”. It’s been quite a couple of weeks.

Where does this trade policy uncertainty leave us in Canada?  What are the implications for our own economy, and more specifically, for Canadian M&A deal activity?

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