Latest articles


NAFTA brinkmanship fails to meet deadlines

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

The politicians promised we would know whether or not we were going to have a new NAFTA agreement by early May. Frankly, President Trump had it in his hands. The most important issue (gauged by the time invested in it), auto assembly and auto parts, has been discussed for weeks now, long enough that negotiators must have […] Read more


Is fortune smiling on NAFTA?

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

If fortune is smiling on Canada this spring, you will be reading this column for clues as to how an agreement in principle was finally forged on renegotiating NAFTA. For months now we’ve been tracking the convergence of numerous factors that were pointing towards a do or die situation either this spring or in 2019. […] Read more



An eventful week for trade

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

Canadians could be forgiven if they felt they dodged a bullet the first full week in March. Early in that week, President Trump announced blanket foreign steel tariffs of 25 per cent and 10 per cent on aluminum. Canada not only supplies half of the steel imported into the U.S. but half of American exports […] Read more




Closeup of the flags of the North American Free Trade Agreement NAFTA members on textile texture. NAFTA is the world's largest trade bloc and the member countries are Canada, United States and Mexico. 3D rendering with detailed textured grunge effect on closeup.

Better signs for NAFTA

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

In early January some hope for a new and improved NAFTA agreement was buried in the political and media bombast in Washington, D.C. At first glance, the release of the book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, had little to do with trade and NAFTA. We were fooled, however, because we knew only […] Read more


Closeup of the flags of the North American Free Trade Agreement NAFTA members on textile texture. NAFTA is the world's largest trade bloc and the member countries are Canada, United States and Mexico. 3D rendering with detailed textured grunge effect on closeup.

NAFTA notes and a warning

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

[UPDATED: Jan. 23, 2018 with ‘COMMENT’ at bottom] January 2018. The global economy is improving. The U.S. economy, drawing on Trump optimism, anticipated tax reform and more competitive American businesses seeing some profits, which should benefit Canadian businesses. U.S. beef demand is holding up decently in the face of increased supply. The 800-pound gorilla in […] Read more



NAFTA anxiety continues to build

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

The intent of everyone going into the renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was to get it over quickly, at least quickly by international trade negotiation standards. Canada didn’t think there was a lot to fix, Mexico had presidential elections set for next July and the U.S. general opinion, except for President […] Read more


NAFTA talks take a sinister turn

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

The NAFTA negotiators have completed Rounds 3 and 4 and the progress has been glacial. What we don’t know is whether that is just as well, seeing we can’t be sure what will satisfy President Trump. Round 3, held in Canada, was devoted to getting on paper the items the three countries could agree on. […] Read more



Rooting the dietary guidelines in sound science

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

“There’s a lot of stuff in the Guidelines that was right 40 years ago but that science has disproved. Unfortunately, sometimes, the scientific community doesn’t like to backtrack.” That was David McCarron, nutrition researcher at the University of California-Davis nearly two years ago, commenting on the U.S. Congress ordering a comprehensive review of the way […] Read more


Closeup of the flags of the North American Free Trade Agreement NAFTA members on textile texture. NAFTA is the world's largest trade bloc and the member countries are Canada, United States and Mexico. 3D rendering with detailed textured grunge effect on closeup.

After two rounds

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

Two rounds of NAFTA renegotiation have been held and the three participants have been sizing each other up. While the three nations laid out their objectives in the first round, the second round was more about consolidating the things all three can agree on and cutting out the things that will be more difficult or […] Read more