Senate enables 'extremely hasty bill' to change trade rules

On the day the Senate rushed through legislation to temporarily suspend one of Canada's international trade obligations — citing fears of as-yet-unspecified "surges" — Donald Trump sat beside Justin Trudeau and said the current trade situation for North American steel is "very well taken care of."

C-101 cleared the House of Commons thanks to a late-night motion on Wednesday, then sailed through all stages of debate in the Senate in under an hour Thursday afternoon, with approval by voice votes, after only one speech in favour and one opposed.

The new law deletes, waits two years and then reinstates a World Trade Organization rule Canada signed on to 25 years ago, which requires a waiting period of two years between the time a protective measure ends and the re-application of a similar safeguard measure on the same product.

"We can't have tremendous shipment of certain products," the U.S. president said Thursday, after CBC News asked if the U.S. could impose more tariffs on Canada and Mexico.

Listeners familiar with Trump's fixations could infer that by "certain products," the president likely meant Chinese steel.

"There won't be, hopefully, transshipping," Trump said, referring to the practice of using one country as a stopover to another to dodge tariffs.

"If there's transshipping, I'll call Justin and he'll take care of it. And if he doesn't, I'll probably call him a second time. And if he doesn't, we'll have to talk," he said, looking at Trudeau...

This was excerpted from the 23 June 2019 edition of CBC News.