Jan. 30, 2020
US Consul General for Atlantic Canada Kevin Skillin provided CIC Halifax with an update on the view from Washington and Halifax - the oldest US consular presence in Canada, dating back to 1833. The Consul General noted the region's strong ties to New England including family ties, support during the Halifax explosion, NS's annual Christmas tree gift to Boston, and the US Customs pre-clearance at Halifax International Airport.. Currently there are 60,000 Americans living in Atlantic Canada; we have $24.5B in trade, and 1.3M US visitors each year.
But while the Consul General focused on these positive links with Canada, including the recently signed USMCA, he also spoke of American concerns in an era of great power competition from China and Russia. Concerns in the case of China of such things as the development of Huawei 5G technology. Yet that concern did not deter the creation of a new trade deal with China as Skillin noted both countries are intertwined economically. He did say that the new trade deal does not lift the tariffs on US lobster sales to China, but it does allow for up to $40-$50B in agricultural products trade in the first two years.
Fielding questions about Canada's arrest of Huawei executive in Canada for violating US law, the Consul General said the US has spoken out against the confinement of Canada's two Michaels by the Chinese government. He said the US appreciated Canada's actions as the case involved fraud against US banks, and the US has every intention of prosecuting.
In the area of defense, the Consul General noted that NORAD has to be modernized, especially with Arctic waters becoming more open, and the US would like to see NATO more active in the Middle East.
The event was moderated by Dr. Brian Bow, head of the Centre for the Study of Security and Development at Dalhousie.