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‘Clarity’ and ‘persistence’ led to the removal of steel, aluminum tariffs: Freeland – National



Freeland renews push to remove steel aluminum tariffs during Washington trip National


Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland says Canada will move forward towards ratifying the new NAFTA agreement with “all speed and alacrity” now that a deal has been struck with the U.S. to lift steel and aluminum tariffs.

Late last week, a deal was reached to end the 25 per cent steel and 10 per cent aluminum tariffs imposed by the U.S. on Canada almost exactly a year ago.

Canada and U.S. reach deal to drop steel, aluminum tariffs

The tariffs were imposed on both Canadian and Mexican goods, causing significant friction during negotiations for the new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), known in Canada as CUSMA — presenting a potential barrier to its ratification.

As part of the deal announced on Friday, the U.S. agreed to lift the tariffs within two days, Canada agreed to lift the retaliatory tariffs on goods such as whiskey and washing machines, and both sides have agreed to halt litigation at the World Trade Organization.

WATCH: Freeland says Canada began the conversation on steel and aluminum ‘as soon as it was raised in the U.S.’ (June 19, 2018)

The news came days after Freeland had what she called a “good meeting” with United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington.

In an interview with The West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson, Freeland said it was a “great day for Canada.”

“I will say it is a great day for Canada, a great day for Canadian workers, and it’s a great day for the U.S., too,” she said. “Now we have free trade in steel and aluminum, and that is fantastic.”

Economists say end of U.S. tariffs is good news for Canada, but not out of woods yet


When asked what the breakthrough moment was, Freeland said it was two-fold.

First, she said, “clarity” and “persistence” were essential.

“The most important thing, and this was the case also in the NAFTA negotiation, was a very united, very resolute team Canada approach,” she said. “Starting with the prime minister, including the cabinet, including the caucus, very much including our excellent labour unions, very much including the steel and aluminum companies with whom we spoke a lot and who were great and organized.”

“And all of us just kept on saying in, you know, a firm but polite way that the 232 tariffs had to be lifted, that, you know, they just didn’t belong between two countries, who in addition to being great national security partners, also now have a free trade agreement.”

5 things to remember now that U.S. steel, aluminum tariffs are ending

Second, Freeland says, support from within the U.S. Senate and Congress helped Canada “tremendously” in having the tariffs removed.

Among those who supported the removal of the tariffs, she says, was chair of the U.S. senate finance committee, Chuck Grassley.

“He published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, I think it was 10 days ago, where he came out very clearly and said the new NAFTA will not pass the Senate while the tariffs are in place,” Freeland said.  “And that was a very powerful message from inside the U.S. helped us tremendously.”

WATCH:  Steady conversations led to end of steel, aluminum tariffs, Trudeau says

According to Freeland, a key turning point was April 19, when the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) published its report on the new NAFTA.

“That kind of set the clock going,” she said. “So, as they started moving towards the ratification, some of the new members of the U.S. Senate and Congress took a very strong position and said we will not ratify the new NAFTA while the 232 tariffs are still in place.”

5 things to remember now that U.S. steel, aluminum tariffs are ending

Additionally, Freeland says Canada added pressure by refusing to move ahead towards ratifying the new NAFTA deal.

“Part of getting the 232 tariffs lifted was also saying on behalf of Canada that it would be tremendously difficult for us to pass the new NAFTA here, while the tariffs were still in place, and of course, that agreement can only come into force when it’s ratified by all three countries. So that was a form of pressure as well,” she said. “And to make those statements real, we did not put forward, not move ahead with passage of the new NAFTA in our own House of Commons and that was exactly the right thing to do, it helped us get to today’s great result.”

Now that the tariffs will be lifted, Freeland says the new NAFTA agreement is a “win-win-win” for Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

“We are very open to and looking forward to having some real debates about this new agreement. But I am very confident that there is broad agreement inside the country that this is a deal which is good for Canada,” she said.

— With files from The West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson and Kerri Breen

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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