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Trudeau, Trump and Pena Nieto to sign new USMCA trade agreement in Argentina

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto will sign the new United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement on continental trade in Argentina tomorrow morning.

While Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland will be present at the event, the three leaders themselves will sign the new trade deal.

Even after the deal is signed, it remains a long way from taking effect. The elected governments of all three nations still have to ratify the deal.

In Canada and Mexico, that process is expected to be pretty straightforward. In the U.S. — where the recent midterm elections delivered the House of Representatives to the Democrats — it could be more challenging.

“I think it’s fantastic news,” former Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose told CBC News Network’s Power & Politics. “We need to have that level of leadership come together to sign to send a very strong signal that if this is the agreement we’ve come to, and this is the agreement our leaders support.”

“We don’t need any more uncertainty around the trade file in North America,” added Ambrose, who served on Trudeau’s NAFTA advisory panel. “Of course we’ll probably continue to see some of it around tariffs on steel and aluminum, but let’s hope that’s resolved soon.”

U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum will remain in place for the time being, Freeland’s office has confirmed. 

Supporting dairy

In the run-up to this announcement, the NDP and two national dairy organizations have urged Trudeau not to sign the deal.

What worries the dairy sector is a USMCA annex on agricultural trade. The dairy organizations say it “fundamentally undermines Canadian sovereignty” by granting the Americans “oversight into the administration of our Canadian dairy system.”

In letters written to Trudeau Thursday, both the Dairy Farmers of Canada and the Dairy Processors Association of Canada said they’d received assurances from negotiators that this text would not be part of the final deal.

Two national dairy organizations have urged Trudeau not to sign the deal, saying it grants the Americans ‘oversight into the administration of our Canadian dairy system.’ (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

But dairy industry stakeholders who spoke to CBC News said that, contrary to these assurances, they were told by government officials that this language has become part of the official agreement. The industry stakeholders told CBC News the measures compromise their sovereignty and threaten their ability to manage their business how they see fit.

CBC News has reached out to Global Affairs Canada for confirmation and has not received a reply.

As of Thursday evening, the Global Affairs website had not yet posted the text of the agreement and was still sending readers to the USTR, website where they could find the U.S. version of the agreement.

‘Crippling consequences’

The American dairy industry is aggressively in search of new markets for its milk, which it produces far in excess of its domestic demand. It’s also suffering losses due to retaliatory tariffs from other countries and markets it’s missing out on, thanks, in part, to Trump’s abandonment of other trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 

Having more information about what Canada is doing with its strict price and production controls, while simultaneously gaining access to a new share of Canada’s protected market, could be highly beneficial to the American industry at a time when it’s pressuring the Trump administration to compensate for those losses.

The USMCA also requires Canada to abandon a new pricing system for dairy ingredients that the industry believed was essential to its long-term viability.

Ruth Ellen Brosseau, the NDP’s House leader, demanded in the House of Commons today that the dairy oversight clause be removed before Canada signs the USMCA.

“This clause will have devastating and crippling consequences on our industry here in Canada,” she said.

“We made sure that the American attempts to destroy our supply management system did not succeed,” Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay replied. “We understand that they had some problems and we’re going to make sure that they’re fully and fairly supported.”

NDP trade critic Tracey Ramsey added that with U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs still in place, signing now would amount to “losing our best chance to eliminate them. The reasons for not signing this deal are stacking up.”

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Real Estate

Couple from Toronto buys dream home in Mushaboom

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MUSHABOOM – A couple who lived and raised a family in downtown Toronto developed a five-year plan in 2015 to purchase their dream home.

In September they moved into the home – located on Malagash Island in Mushaboom on Nova Scotia’s stunning Eastern Shore – that met and exceeded their best dreams for their retirement.

The Camerons, Bruce and Tanya, decided in 2019 they would explore the Maritimes to see what real estate was available to become their potential retirement home. In the spring of 2020, during a global pandemic, the real estate boom hit their city, and they were hearing the same for Nova Scotia. Our province was their first-choice for attaining their desire for an entirely different lifestyle – away from the busyness of the city.

“We had $300,000 to $350,000 as a home value in mind to buy. Our semi-detached located off Danforth in Toronto was priced at $850,000. We wanted to come out ahead, so we would be secure in retirement,” Tanya said.

Their century-old home had prime location near the subway and GO Transit Line for a great 13-minute commute downtown.

“We enjoyed our community,” explains Bruce “… we had great neighbours, young children around and street parties – lots of social activity.”

Bruce says, “Our agent suggested a starting quote of $899,000. We did not do any renovations and only some staging. Fifty couples went through and we received four significant offers. Six days later we sold – with zero conditions – and a price of over a million dollars. We just requested a closing of September 2020 to get the kids off to school – which we got.”

The couple got more than they had anticipated.

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Rabobank Announces Leadership Changes in U.S., Canadian Offices

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NEW YORK, Dec. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Rabobank, the leading global food and agribusiness bank, has appointed two of its top executives, Tamira Treffers-Herrera and Robert Sinescu, to become Co-Heads of North American Client Coverage, positioning the Bank for future growth in the region.

Treffers-Herrera has also assumed the role of Vice Chairperson and Head of the Atlanta office, where she additionally oversees Rabobank Mexico, which is led by Eduardo Palacios. Sinescu is the Head of the Chicago office, and also oversees Rabobank Canada, led by Marc Drouin, who was recently appointed as Canada’s General Manager.

Treffers-Herrera and Sinescu report to David Bassett, Head of Wholesale Banking North America, the Bank’s corporate and investment banking business for the region based in New York.

“Both Tamira and Robert have a demonstrated history of strong leadership, operational excellence and passion for our clients,” Bassett said. “Their broad experience and deep sector expertise will be invaluable in delivering dynamic results for clients while accelerating our growth trajectory in North America.”

Each office will have an even greater focus on key Food & Agribusiness sectors and clients: The Chicago office will drive growth in sectors including Dairy, Farm Inputs and Grains & Oilseeds, which are also key areas of focus for the Canada office. The Atlanta office will focus heavily on sectors such as Animal Protein, Beverages, Sugar, and Supply Chains, which are important sectors in Mexico as well.

“Rabobank is fully committed to our clients throughout North America, and we believe our new sector-focused coverage will improve our ability to provide knowledge-based, value-added solutions that benefit our clients,” Bassett said.

Treffers-Herrera was most recently based in London as CEO of Rabobank’s European Region from 2016-2020, where she took the organization through Brexit. Prior to that, she worked in the Atlanta office from 2002-2016. During her tenure in Atlanta, Treffers-Herrera served as Global Sector Head – Consumer Food & Beverages, and prior to that she was a senior banker for a portfolio of large beverage and consumer foods clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky, a Master of Arts from the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and has studied at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Harvard Business School.

Sinescu has been with Rabobank for over 21 years and was previously General Manager of Rabobank Canada, where he oversaw all operations, business development, commercial strategy and relationships with regulators. In addition, he continues to serve as CEO of Rabo Securities Canada Inc. Prior to Canada, he was a senior banker, Head of Corporate Banking, European Sector Head for Sugar, and a member of the Management Team for Rabobank France. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from the Bucharest School of Business, a Master of Business Administration & Management and a Master of Science in Banking and Corporate Finance from Sorbonne University in Paris, and has studied at Brown University.

Drouin has worked with Rabobank’s Canadian team for more than nine years and most recently served as a senior banker, Head of Rabobank Canada’s AgVendor Program and a member of Rabobank Canada’s Management Team. He brings extensive wholesale banking experience within the Dairy, G&O, CPG and Supply Chain sectors. Drouin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University and a Master of Business Administration in International Finance, Marketing and Management from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

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Real Estate

Greybrook Realty Partners & Marlin Spring Brand Jointly Owned Asset Manager – Greyspring Apartments

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TORONTO, Dec. 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Greybrook Realty Partners and Marlin Spring are pleased to announce the new branding of their jointly owned investment and asset management firm, Greyspring Apartments. With a portfolio of more than 2,000 units and CAD$375 million in assets under management, Greyspring Apartments is focused on the acquisition and repositioning of multi-family assets throughout Canada.

The new name and branding is an important step in Greyspring’s evolution as an independent operating business. Formed in 2018 by long standing-partners Marlin Spring and Greybrook Realty Partners, Greyspring Apartments was established with the goal of building a leading asset management firm with a robust portfolio of residential rental real estate assets in primary and secondary markets across Canada.

Greyspring’s talented team of real estate, asset management and finance professionals is overseen and guided by the Management Board, whose members include Benjamin Bakst, CEO, Marlin Spring; Elliot Kazarnovksy, CFO, Marlin Spring; Sasha Cucuz, CEO, Greybrook Securities Inc.; Peter Politis, CEO, Greybrook Realty Partners; Chris Salapoutis, President & COO, Greybrook Realty Partners; Ashi Mathur, President, Marlin Spring; and Karl Brady. In addition to his role on the Management Board, Karl Brady leads Greyspring Apartments as its President. 

“We are pleased to announce the official name and branding of a business we formed with our partners at Marlin Spring a few years ago,” said Peter Politis, CEO, Greybrook Realty Partners. “Greyspring has been diligently focused on the execution of strategic value-add programs across its portfolio that are improving the quality of housing for tenants and overall asset values. For Greybrook investors, expanding from our core business in real estate development to the value-add space through Greyspring, has allowed us to provide our clients with investment opportunities that diversify their real estate investment portfolios.”

“Marlin Spring and Greybrook have partnered on many residential real estate projects in recent years,” said Benjamin Bakst, CEO and Cofounder, Marlin Spring. “To a great extent, Greyspring illustrates our approach to partnerships. We believe in, and strive for, responsible growth through deepening our relationships with our trusted partners. With Greyspring, we’ve formalized our focus on providing better and more affordable living experiences for Canadians. This vision aligns with our mission to deliver exceptional real estate value to all our stakeholders with an uncompromising adherence to our core values.”

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