What's happening in US





What do Prince Rupert, Quebec City, Chicago and New Orleans have in common? All are directly linked to the Canadian National Railway

Changes in the dynamics of world shipping, its enormous increase in scale in the last 20 years - particularly in the last 10 - have enlarged the role of Canada in North American supply chains.

What was unthinkable in the past is now part of present-day planning as more and more Asian cargo lands on the east coast of North America via Suez as well as Panama.

In Canada, this has resulted in relatively obscure deep sea ports such as east coast Quebec City and west coast Prince Rupert now competing with heavy hitters in Halifax and Montreal in one case, and with Vancouver in the other. More than that, they now threaten cargo diversions from giant ports like New York and Los Angeles because of newly acquired comparative advantages they offer to cost-cutting shippers.

With the US-China trade war, there is greater urgency in getting the USMCA passed and in force

The end of 2019 has long been informal deadline to get the US-Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) approved and fully functioning amid concerns that it will get lost in the noise of the presidential election campaign if it remains unratified in 2020.

But the election campaign itself could add to pressure for action, as Democrats seek to defend their still shakey, House majority that could easily be lost again. “If you are a Democrat in a highly competitive district, you are looking for at least one bipartisan vote that you can point to, to burnish your independent credentials,” said longtime Republican political advisor Phil Cox, who now co-chairs the bipartisan Trade Works for America coalition, which is pushing for passage of the USMCA.

The problem for Democrats is that they want the measure passed, as do most Americans do, and hate being cast in the role of the only one blocking the passage of what everyone desires including Canada and Mexico.

What's become of the American independent trucker? Can he survive the increasing wave of bureaucratic intrusion?

For long-haul freight movement in North American, railways play a central role for the simple reason a than a half dozen in a train crew can move several hundred containers thousands of miles while a single trucker can only move one box at a time.

Yet a truck always figures into the story somewhere along the line, usually at the end of a journey or its beginning. The long haul must begin and end somewhere to complete the ultimated objective - door-to-door delivery.

In the war on trucking to make them more expensive and less competitive than rail, an alliance of environmentalists, safety lobbyists, feminists (often one and the same), Teamsters, state regulators, and ironically, even major trucking companies are arrayed against the humble trucker. The not-so-humbler trucker in the big companies appear to play a counterintuitive role as they are bent on having soaring compliance costs drive smaller players out of business and so increase their market share. This is not so much a conspiracy as it is a coincidence of mutual interest, with all unwitting allied demanding tighter control of smaller independent owner operators.

America settles into what started as a tariff duel, then became a China boycott and now looks like a Cold War

Despite the predictable dismissal from America's Trump-loathing media, the White House idea of buying Greenland was not as laughable or unprecedented as it was made to appear.

First, such a move is far from unprecedented and would be a great boon to trade and national security. Second, US presidents have paid for territory before. In 1803, Thomas Jefferson bought huge tracts of land from France for US$15 million in the Louisiana Purchase. In 1867, Andrew Johnson paid $7.2 million for Alaska from Russia. And the Danish West Indies became the US Virgin Islands in 1917 when Woodrow Wilson bought them for $25 million. So why not Greenland?

From a strategic point of view, hopes have faded that the US-China trade war will soon be over, especially given the stated ambitions of both sides, and the likelihood China's ambitious President Xi Jingping will change his ways have evaporated.


U.S. Trade Specialists

Recent Issue

Intra Asia Trade

Oct, 2019

Mediterranean & Africa Trade

Sep, 2019

China Trade

Aug, 2019

Europe Trade

Jul, 2019