Trade Concerns Linger as Progress Stalls

U.S. trade negotiations with several of its key allies appear to have stalled, or possibly even eroded further, as Canada proposed tariffs on maple syrup, a move that could hurt syrup producers in Maine. Canada produced nearly 72 percent of the world’s maple syrup in 2017, and it imports very little of the sweet condiment. Still, most of its imports come from Maine, and tariffs on U.S. maple syrup would definitely make waves. The proposed tariff is also partially symbolic, as Canada’s national symbol is the maple leaf.

In addition to tariffs on maple syrup and maple sugar, Canadian leaders last week proposed tariffs on other goods including pens, mattresses and toilet paper. The proposed tariffs were a direct response to Washington’s tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel.

Trade talks were also cooling down between the U.S. and China after U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross left China last week without securing a new trade deal. Last week the U.S. said it would proceed with 25 percent tariffs on nearly $50 billion of Chinese products. The final list of products to be taxed will be released on June 15. Also last week, The Trump administration turned the proposed aluminum and steel tariffs into action, slapping tariffs on the metals imported from Canada, Mexico and Europe. The countries have banded together to fight the move and have appealed at the World Trade Organization. The continued trade issues are predicted to cause trouble for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and expectations for a new NAFTA deal are diminishing.

Asian stocks indexes were mixed on Tuesday after Wall Street hit new records on Monday, supported by sweeping gains by Apple and Amazon. The ASX 200 was down 0.34 percent as of 1:23 p.m. HK/SIN, and the Kospi was down 0.11 percent. The Shanghain Composite, the Nikkei 225 and the Hang Seng Index all headed higher.

Sara Patterson has a Master’s Degree in political science and enjoys analyzing both current events and the international markets to get a fuller perspective of the currency market. Before turning to financial writing, she taught English writing skills to high-school age students. Sara’s work has been published on various financial and Forex blogs.