Canada's finance minister touts USMCA but says dairy, steel sectors need help

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is assuring the business sector that Canada's new trade deal will bring more economic stability, even as the government works to fairly compensate dairy farmers and deal with steel and aluminum.

Morneau told a Vancouver audience yesterday the USMCA means Canada is now the only country to have deals with all its G7 partners, but will continue its efforts to diversify trade around the world, including with China.

He says dairy farmers will be compensated to make up for access to 3.59 per cent of Canada's market by American dairy producers under the new agreement.

The latest trade agreement, with the United States and Mexico, continues tariffs the US imposed last spring on Canadian steel and aluminum, prompting the industry to criticize the government for selling out the sector.

Morneau says Canada is working to ensure producers are protected from potential diversion of steel and aluminum from other countries while also balancing the needs of users.

He says the country's economic future is further solidified with a 40-billion-dollar liquefied natural gas deal announced yesterday by five companies that will build the project in northern British Columbia.