The minister was concluding her second official visit to the U.S. capital since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the White House last month.
Mary Ng led a Team Canada multi-party mission to Capitol Hill over several days of meetings with U.S. lawmakers to discuss a number of lingering irritants.
Topping the list is a proposed U.S.-made electric vehicle tax credit that Canadian business leaders say could be devastating for the auto industry north of the border.
The credit, which is said to be worth up to $ 12,500 on U.S. vehicles made by unionized workers, is part of the Build Back Better bill (Build Back Better) of the Biden administration, which is currently making its way to Congress.
Many members of Congress who attended the meetings said they were still a long way from deciding how they were going to vote, Ms Ng said in an interview at the Canadian Embassy.
There is always work to be done, [mais] I would say that there is still latitude, she said.
I have heard from senators that they were not ready to vote on this, that they have work to do. For me, therefore, this continues to be an opportunity for Canada to continue to strive for a solution., she added.
The Electric Vehicle Tax Credit is an important part of President Joe Biden’s strategy to tackle climate change, revive his country’s dying manufacturing sector, and create stable, well-paying jobs for class-leading Americans. factory Girl.
Ms. Ng admitted that these meetings were more
granular as the high-level discussions that took place in mid-November with Mr. Trudeau and herself, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly and Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino .
But as at those meetings, the talk about Canada’s concerns ran the gamut, she said.
I would say at some meetings I was doing a bit of catching up, said Ms. Ng.
Some had more knowledge, others had less, [mais] there was a receptivity to doing more work on their part and then continuing the conversation with Canada, which I think is really good, she continued.
” There was a receptivity to finding solutions with Canada. “
Decision before Christmas?
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has publicly said he expects the Build Back Better bill to be put to a vote before the Christmas recess, but a number of key senators, including the West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, have expressed skepticism about this timeline.
Mr. Manchin, whose vote will be critical in an equally divided Senate, has expressed doubts over the idea of the tax credit in recent weeks, especially because Toyota is a major employer in his state.
However, these days his worries tend to revolve around the real price of the $ 1.7 trillion climate change and social spending program, as well as its potential effect on an inflation rate already exceeding $ 6. %.
The Canadian delegation included Conservative MP Randy Hoback, his NDP counterpart Daniel Blaikie and Sébastien Lemire from the Bloc Québécois, as well as Flavio Volpe, president of theAutomotive Parts Manufacturers Association.
Members of the delegation also challenge the United States’ decision to almost double the tariffs on Canadian lumber and the threat to ban shipments of potatoes from Prince Edward Island by due to concerns about a rare fungus.
The face-to-face time was usefulMr. Volpe said, waiting on the tarmac for his flight to Toronto to take off, before the seat belt panel illuminated and he was forced to switch to text messaging.
Whenever we attend in person and voice our concerns and offer cooperative alternatives, we remind them how important this is to us and make them understand that we will have to react if they go ahead., he continued.
Team Canada’s approach, while politically effective at home, likely carries little weight with U.S. lawmakers except on one important point, he added:
If that accomplishes anything, it’s probably to say that there is no way out for the United States if they cheat Canada on it.
” We are all determined to defend our position. “
The piece of legislation still has a long way to go in the Senate, especially in overcoming the Byrd Rule – a Senate process that applies to money bills and is designed to prevent unnecessary spending provisions from ending up in law. .
If the tax credit were to survive, challenges under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) – Mexico and Canada have publicly said the proposal violates the letter and spirit of the agreement – would be probable, as well as other
retaliatory measures, said Mr. Volpe.
For now, however,
diplomacy is always the best way to avoid war, trade or otherwise.