On February 17, CIAC President Bob Masterson, along with CIAC Chair Deborah Stephens, President Dow Chemical Canada; Past Chair Kevin Henderson, Senior Vice-President, Manufacturing, Methanex Corporation; and Ken Faulkner, Director, Government Relations, NOVA Chemicals participated in a roundtable for Manufacturing, High-Tech and Business Services hosted by Alberta Premier Notley. Also at the table were the Hon. Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and his Deputy Minister Jason Krips.
The purpose of the roundtable – the last of four meetings hosted by the Premier – was to discuss opportunities and questions that have arisen in the wake of the new Trump administration. While in power for just over a month, Trump’s stated intentions for his “America first” strategy has raised serious concerns on both sides of the border.
During the discussion, the representatives from the chemistry industry highlighted the following areas of concern that could adversely affect the business environment, and investment opportunities for our industry:
- If proposed measures such as border tax, and/or cancellation of NAFTA are implemented, export oriented energy and related chemistry sectors could face significant devastation.
- If initiatives like ‘Buy America’ continue to gain traction, and regulatory or tax reforms further strengthen the U.S. competitive position, our industry, and others, would be significantly impacted as collateral damage.
- President Trump’s own rhetoric will likely discourage American companies from sourcing from, or investing in, jurisdictions outside the U.S.
- Significant uncertainties around the actions of the new administration could result in uncertainty at all market levels – national, regional, and global– thus hurting, rather than improving economic prospects in the short to medium term.
In the coming weeks, CIAC will continue to reach out to trade and economic development officials to outline our industry’s investment potential, and encourage provincial (Ontario and Alberta) and federal officials to work together on efforts to address the challenges that lie ahead.