Vermont closely watching US-Canada trade talks

Local News

Earlier this month, before the U.S. and Mexico reached a preliminary trade deal, President Trump threatened new tariffs on Canada if it wouldn’t get on board.

That threat worries Tom Torit, president of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, who said Vermont could be vulnerable to tariffs.

“I think there are about 20,000 direct jobs that are attributable to our trade with Canada,” Torti said.

Vermont exports $1.2 billion in goods to Canada every year, according to census data. And it’s not only agricultural products.

“Flooring,” Torti said. “The microelectronics industry. We also have services. We have insurance services, professional services that go back and forth. We are very concerned.”

Gov. Phil Scott said in his weekly news conference that the proposed Mexico deal is actually an encouraging sign. He said if a deal can be ironed out with Mexico first, he’s confident a similar agreement can be reached with Canada.

“Many (people), a year ago, thought that this would be the more difficult conversation,” the governor said. “Our Canadian friends have advocated for getting through some of the automobile difficulties with Mexico.”

The proposal would require that 75% of the parts of any vehicle sold in North America be made in the U.S. or Mexico.

President Trump is widely expected to tell Congress on Friday that he’ll sign the Mexico trade agreement, starting the 90-day notice period that he has to give Congress before he’s legally allowed to sign it.

The White House wants to start that clock now because Mexico’s president, Enrique Pena, leaves office on November 30th and Trump wants the agreement to be signed by then.

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