Canada signs free trade deal with Panama, tracks Russian subs on east coast

Two pieces of good news for our neighbor to the North.

First, while Obama has been embracing protectionism, Canada has signed yet another free trade deal.

CTV News reports:

Canada has signed off on a free-trade agreement with Panama, which will immediately slash tariffs on a number of Canadian exports.


[…]The new agreement with Panama will cut more than 90 per cent of tariffs on various Canadian exports, including agricultural exports and high-tech machinery. Any remaining tariffs will be eliminated within 10 years under the terms of the deal.

Beef producers will also benefit, as Panama will lift a six-year-old ban on Canadian beef as part of the deal, CTV’s Roger Smith said Tuesday.

[…]Beyond reducing tariffs on export goods, the deal will help Canadian businesses gain greater access to the Panamanian market, Smith said.

[…]Panama is the eighth country to reach a trade pact with Canada in the past year. Canada has also reached trade deals with four European countries and Peru. Similar deals with Colombia and Jordan have been signed, but not implemented.

Previously, I wrote about Obama’s naive protectionism. Anti-free-trade policies (= protectionism) is the kind of policy favored by people who do not know the first thing about economics. Being anti-free-trade is right up their with being pro rent-control. We are talking about amazing levels of economic ignorance, coupled with pandering to his ignorant special interest groups.

CTV also reports that Canada’s anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft detected nuclear-powered (= quiet) Russian attack submarines patroling off the east coast.

Frankly, I am surprised that Canada was able to detect Akula class SSNs by using airborne ASW aircraft. I’ve used the S-3 Viking and the P-3 Orion fixed-wing platforms before, (as well as helicopters), and this CP-140 doesn’t look much different. If I had to bet, I would bet that they got the contact on the SOSUS network and that this press release is fudging things to make the Canadian forces look more effective than they really are.


It’s unclear whether Canada took the initiative to have a CP-140 Aurora patrol plane watch the vessels, or whether there was a request from the U.S. Northern Command which tracks submarines.

My guess is that this is a SOSUS contact that was delegated to the Canadians for PR purposes. I just don’t believe that you are going to get a contact cold on an Akula-class attack submarine from a fixed wing aircraft. Akulas are quiet. These are not SSBNs like a Typhoon class – they much smaller. ASW aircraft are usually brought in after a sonar contact – otherwise you’re just wasting sonobuoys looking for a needle in a haystack.

Did you guys miss the story from earlier this year about Canada chasing off Russian bear aircraft?

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