America’s allies think Donald Trump is like a bully school kid who plays sandlot baseball and makes up all the rules. As soon as the game doesn’t go his way for one reason or another, he picks up his ball and bat and goes home. He ruins the game, but he still has bully bragging rights.
Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on America’s allies on steel and aluminum is a similar situation in a lot of ways. Trump knows America can make life miserable for businesses in Canada, Mexico, China, and Europe by hitting them in the pocketbook. There’s not much chance of them winning a trade war unless they use other tactics. According to the Houston Chronicle and Canada’s news magazine, Maclean’s, the only way to get Trump’s attention is to target Trump’s business ventures. The Chinese tried to show favoritism to Trump when officials gave Trump’s daughter, Ivanka 17 licenses to sell branded goods in the new consumer-driven economy in China. But even though the Trump’s took that cash cow licensing deal, Mr. Trump is still planning to put tariffs on Chinese products.
Trump knows he has the upper hand in a trade war. And America’s allies are trying to find a solution that will hit Trump where it hurts. According to former Canadian diplomat Scott Gilmore, Canada should tax Trump’s business ventures. Trump has skyscraper hotels in Vancouver and Toronto, and they would be ground zero for a Trump-inspired tax. Canada has a law on the books called “The Magnitsky Act” that can punish foreign business ventures if there are signs of corruption. According to Gilmore, Canada’s chief trade negotiator Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is studying the idea.
In order for Canada to tax Trump’s businesses, corruption must be present, according to Canadian trade lawyer, Jesse Goldman, and that might be hard to do. But Goldman said taxing Trump is a possibility if someone blows the whistle and reports Trump’s past shady business deals. Mr. Gilmore believes the current U.S. investigations are enough proof of corruption to levy a tax on Trump’s businesses. But the investigation must turn up positive proof of corruption and that hasn’t happened yet. Taxing Trump is a “Hail Mary” type reaction to Trump’s tariff’s, but it could be something other countries do in the future if the Mueller investigation finds evidence that Trump doesn’t play by the rules in business.