Trading

Opinion: The last thing we need in a pandemic is me-first instincts of international trade – The Globe and Mail

U.S. President Donald Trump announced a set of trade restrictions under a Korean-War-era law, prohibiting U.S. exports of medical supplies including surgical face masks made by Minnesota-based 3M Corp. The order specifically bans exports to Canada.

NICHOLAS PFOSI/Reuters

Lawrence Herman, a former Canadian diplomat, is counsel at Herman & Associates and senior fellow of the C.D. Howe Institute in Toronto

There’s hardly a glimmer of sunshine in the COVID-19 crisis, just a constant stream of horribly depressing news and worrying statistics, with no vaccine or antiviral breakthrough in sight.

The skies darkened even further on Friday, when U.S. President Donald Trump suddenly announced a set of trade restrictions under a Korean-War-era law, prohibiting U.S. exports of medical supplies including surgical face masks made by Minnesota-based 3M Corp. The order specifically bans exports to Canada.

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It comes at the same time Canada and the United States just entered into a free trade agreement that says in its preamble that it was concluded in recognition of “the longstanding friendship between them and their peoples, and the strong economic co-operation that has developed through trade and investment.”

Coming as a total surprise and at a time when international
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