GFM Network News


U.S. President Donald Trump at a Make America Great Again rally in Topeka, Kansas, on Oct. 6, 2018.

Down to the bitter end

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

I’ve talked to a lot of cattlemen across America in the last year. To a man, or woman, they are not comfortable with some of President Trump’s brash New York style. Of course, one has to remember how his business career forged him. He has dealt with wealthy, egotistical national and international property owners; tough […] Read more

Two economies, two theories

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

In May 1983’s G7 Summit, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl asked President Reagan to “Tell us about the American miracle.” Kohl was referring to America’s booming economy while the rest of the world was floundering. Reagan explained that cutting tax rates incentivized citizens and businesses, stimulated economic growth and eventually increased total tax return to the […] Read more


A lackluster summer for NAFTA

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

You might well have seen President Trump in recent weeks all over the world (North Korea, G7 Summit in Quebec, NATO meetings and Helsinki, Finland with Vladimir Putin). You might not have seen him at campaign events in West Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota and elsewhere, if Canadian TV doesn’t carry those hugely successful events. The point […] Read more

Almost from day one, President Trump has threatened to pull out of NAFTA if he doesn’t get the deal he wants.

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


Flags are pictured during the fifth round of NAFTA talks involving the United States, Mexico and Canada, in Mexico City, Mexico, November 19, 2017.

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

Early March saw the White House pronounce steel tariffs that would move many countries to request exemptions.

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



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


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

Flags are pictured during the fifth round of NAFTA talks involving the United States, Mexico and Canada, in Mexico City, Mexico, November 19, 2017.

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