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Canadian Consul Comartin Discusses Tariffs, RVs

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U.S. tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel has a negative impact on both countries and clashes with the history of the two countries living peacefully side-by-side on the world’s longest border, said Canadian Consul General in Detroit, Michigan, Joe Comartin, when he visited Elkhart recently.

This story by Rasmus S. Jorgensen originally appeared in The Elkhart Truth.

Comartin, who assumed the office on Dec. 1, spent three days in Indiana to speak with politicians and business leaders and made a last stop in Elkhart before heading back to Detroit.

The Trump administration introduced a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum on June 1, 2018. Canada, among other countries, has since created retaliatory tariffs.

Later that year, leaders of the U.S., Mexico and Canada signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a trade agreement that supporters believe is more appropriate for modern markets than the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The USMCA has yet to be ratified by any of the countries’ legislatures, which must happen before it can take effect. Comartin worries that might never happen.

The earliest time Canada will realistically ratify is the summer of 2020, according to Comartin. Though this could seem like just an international issue, it has a local impact.

“We’re a significant market for the RVs coming out of this area,” Comartin said.

He said he believes there are also Canadian suppliers that would like to get into the Elkhart market, and vice versa, but can’t make much financial sense of it during the current trade circumstances.

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