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Monday, July 31, 2017

Canada government pleased the U.S. won't proceed with border tax

   Canada column for Sunday, July 30/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The U.S. government’s decision to drop a proposed border tax has been welcomed by Canada as removing the threat of a trade war.
   The unilateral imposition of a revenue-generating border tax would have been a “very destructive action to take,” said Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
   It could have come just as negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement are to begin on Aug. 16.
   The lack of action also reduces pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to cut Canada’s corporate tax rate to keep pace with the promised steep reduction in the United States.
   Trudeau expressed satisfaction with the move as U.S. officials said they’re “confident” a tax on imports is no longer needed to pay for broader tax reform.
   The border adjustment tax would have been a “serious impediment to trade with Canada,” he said.
   “There is no economic relationship anywhere in the world like the one between Canada and the United States and that needs to be protected,” Trudeau added.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Canada confident ahead of NAFTA proposed changes by the U.S.

   Canada column for Sunday, July 16/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada’s leaders feel confident that President Donald Trump won’t be “ripping up” the three-country North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received the assurance from Vice President Mike Pense while attending a meeting of state governors in Rhode Island on Friday.
   “We will modernize NAFTA for the 21st century so that it is a win-win-win for all of our trading partners in North America,” Pence said to applause from Trudeau.
   His remarks came days before the U.S. government plans to issue its thoughts about NAFTA negotiations that are to begin next month.
   In a speech to Pense and the governors, Trudeau urged more trade, not less, saying “we must get this right.”
   “We’re grateful for the prime minister’s leadership and his early outreach to this administration,” Pense said.
   He said the U.S. is “looking forward to bringing NAFTA into the future in a way that will equally benefit both our countries.”

Monday, July 10, 2017

Sears Canada wants to cut retiree benefits in bankruptcy restructuring

   Canada column for Sunday, July 9/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Sears Canada, in bankruptcy protection from creditors, wants court approval to cut off benefits for its retired employees.
   The company that has been hammered by online shopping and tough competition is raising “significant doubt” about its future in Canada and seeking a buyer.
   Plans are to cut 2,900 jobs and close 59 of its 225 stores as it restructures and to seek court approval to suspend benefits for its retired employees and special payments to its defined benefit pension plan.
   Sears said in its initial court filings that it planned to suspend life insurance, health and dental benefits to certain employees during the restructuring.
   Now it is asking the Ontario Superior Court to extend court protection from creditors to Oct. 4 as it seeks potential investors and buyers and consults with its landlords, employees, suppliers and creditors.
   The restructuring hasn’t affected monthly pension payments to the retirement plan’s beneficiaries.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Canada parties for the country's 150th birthday

   Canada column for Sunday, July 2/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   As more than a half-million people gathered on Parliament Hill for Canada’s 150th birthday this weekend, greetings have come from south of the border.
   Not in a tweet, but U.S. President Donald Trump issued a statement wishing Canada the best on its big day.
   “The United States cherishes our relationship with Canada,” he said, adding: “Throughout the years, no two countries have formed a bond as unique as ours.”
   Trump noted the relationship as Canada and the United States “have stood together steadfastly in times of peace and war, through prosperity and hardship.”
   As well, he said “we are united by the world's longest border but above all by the shared values we together hold so highly.”
   Security was tight as the country prepared its largest-ever party outside the Parliament buildings in Ottawa.
   Along with the hundreds of thousands of revelers in the capital, Canadians in more than 2,000 communities and around the world were celebrating.