Posted by Nick Aroutzidis on Jan 13, 2018
January 18, 2018: Panel 4 service clubs “Brief introduction to programs and work in Community Kiwanis, Optimist, Kinsmen and CFUW”, our speakers will be: Anne Carbett, Bob Walters, Tom Walden, Dave Mclennan. Charlene Gordon and John Wright will be conducting the panel and President Linda Bathe will thank the speakers.

Head Table:  Our President Linda Bathe, invites, Charlene Gordon, John Wright, to join her at the head table.
 
This Week: John Wright introduced Roy Verstraete. Mr. Verstraete has held various leadership roles in manufacturing for more than 30 years. He was CEO and President of Anchor Danly and Velcro Canada, and president of the Auto Parts Manufacturing Association (APMA) of Canada. Raised on a tobacco farm in Blenheim, he is a professional engineer and has an MBA. He holds dual Canadian/US citizenship.
 
Guest speaker Roy Verstraete flanked by introducer Rotarian John Wright and friend and visiting Rotarian Bruce Minielly.
 
Mr. Verstraete shared his insight on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), its impact to date, and the current status of negotiations. Because of its critical importance to the auto industry, the Detroit Big 3, Japan, and Germany have been front-and-centre in talks.
 
NAFTA, a Canada/US/Mexico agreement came into effect Jan. 1, 1994. It superseded the 1989 Canada/US trade agreement that arose from President Regan’s initiates a decade before, and phased out a range of trade restrictions in stages over a 10-year period (15 for agriculture). It was also intended to eliminate many non-trade barriers and protect intellectual property. The exception is tariffs on agriculture that stem from Canada’s supply management systems. Of particular importance is Chapter 19, which specifies procedures for resolution of disputes using a process that avoids the legal wrangling and excessive costs inherent in the US court system.
 
For Canada, NAFTA’s positives include enhanced trade with both the US and Mexico, better worker mobility and a more even distribution of growth across North America. The positives for Mexico are increased jobs and improved economic status. Benefits for the US are more modest, and although the notion of jobs lost to Mexico is mostly hype – several university studies have shown minimal impact – the prevailing erroneous public perception is a huge motivator for change. President Trump’s anti-NAFTA sentiments play into his “America first” philosophy that purports to correct the loss of jobs to Mexico and trade imbalances with Canada and Mexico. This is rhetoric not fact. What he calls a 17 billion dollar deficit with Canada is actually a 7.7 billion dollar surplus (2016 data).
 
Five of the seven rounds of negotiation have been completed. Round 6 is scheduled for Jan. 23-30 in Montreal. Round 4 was the first with concrete proposals, but these were untenable “poisoned pills” eg. eliminate agricultural supply management and remove Chapter 19. There was also a 5-year sunset clause that is incompatible with automotive manufacturing given the typical 7-yr life for model styles and 20-year horizons for retooling automotive plants. In addition cars assembled in Canada and Mexico must have at least 50% US content to be sold in the US, an unrealistic target.
 
Canada’s response has been a “charm offensive” whereby support for NAFTA is garnered from leaders in US industry and commerce. The US Chamber of Commerce and the Detroit Big 3 are agreed that they want only small tweaks in the current agreement. Mr. Verstraete believes Prime Minister Trudeau’s strategy to remain firm and wait it out is realistic. No deal is better than a bad deal! 
 
What happens if NAFTA is scrapped?
 
Canada reverts to the previous bilateral US free trade agreement operating under World Trade rules. Not a huge difference for us. Maintaining US trade is important because our geographic position reduces options for alternative trading partners. Mexico would have a greater setback, but with 40 other trade agreements globally it would rebound. Two recent examples of Mexico’s resilience: 1) avocado shipments turned back at the border were sold to Japan for more money; 2) corn previously imported from the US is now sourced from Argentina. The US would lose not only a low cost source of goods, but also trade credibility globally, weakening its global leadership position at the same time as China and Russia increase theirs.
 
In response to questions, Mr. Verstraete re-iterated that our best strategy is to sit and wait. A Mexican election is happening mid-year and US midterm elections occur in November.  In both cases NAFTA will be an issue for debate. We can “win by delay.”
 
Kevin Nonomura thanked Roy for helping us navigate this contemporary and very significant topic. We will follow coming negotiations with better understanding, thanks to his insight.
 
Scribe: Pat Shewen
 
Guests:  Today we welcomed: Bruce Minielly - Grand Bend and Redie Nerayo - Kitchener.
 
Draw: The draw prize today, was 2 tickets to the Mayors Gala, donated by Tracy Van Kalsbeek and was won by Jim Scott.
 
Rotary Announcements January 11, 2018
 
Josef Frank:  Has a friend who is a Rotarian in the Wilmot Club, (New Hamburg).  They have a new fundraiser which is a Trip of the Month Lottery, 600 tickets available at $100 a ticket.  Tickets are available on line.
 
Arlene Pol:  Update on Interact at St Michael’s school.  The Youth Services Committee has been meeting for 6 months and has started a new type of Interact club at St Michael’s.  It is a club in an actual classroom with the help of a teacher Liz Yundt as part of a Business Leadership Course.  You will remember some of the students visited us for lunch.  The committee asked Ms Yundt for some feedback about the program as the class is just about to end.  She had surveyed the students about the class and the input she had to date indicated that the best part of the course was their involvement in Rotary. One of the student testimonials:  “ I have the Rotary to thank for the new perspective I gained during this Business Leadership Course.  By allowing us to be their St Mike’s Interact Club the Rotary allowed our class to receive the internal rewards of actively helping others in our own community and the world. Through the summative fundraisers put on by our class we made a small but significant difference in the lives of many people and that is an amazing feeling.  They taught us that there is truly no substitute for hands on experience and that you will never regret volunteering or contributing what you can to a charitable cause. The summative fundraisers that the Rotary inspired our class to put on also provided us with the opportunity to put valuable life skills such as teamwork, leadership and communication into action.  The Rotary gave us wonderful altruistic role models to try and emulate in our futures for example, we can look up to all the guest speakers they provided us with and the Rotarians who were particularly involved in our class like Arlene and Gary.  They are successful people who use their wealth to do good for others; and we can honour them by passing the lessons they taught us on.  Less importantly than providing us with a bigger prospective of our world, exceptional role models, valuable hands on experience and essential life skills, the work we did as part of the Interact club will pad our resumes very well.”  It is evident this program has done very well.  Thank you for your support.  The total they raised in 5 different fundraisers was $1400.
 
Ken Nesbitt:  Catch the Ace, this Saturday is Week #9 and the jackpot will be over $2100.  Last week we sold 178 tickets, 65 were sold at the market by Dave Hunt and Roger Black who did a fabulous job. Last week the ticket drawn belonged to Dave Hunt Jr. 
 
 
President’s Corner
 
On Monday Evening I was the guest speaker at the St Mary’s Rotary Club speaking about the Hospice Project.  They were very welcoming and here you see our very own past President Stan Malcolm presenting a cheque for the project of $4200. They also said they will consider a 5 year pledge. We now have donations from all Rotary Clubs in the county with the exception of Listowel
 
The Rotary Club of Mitchell is hosting a Craft Beer Tasting event and dance to benefit both the Perth and Huron Hospice Projects on Saturday February 10th featuring live music from Strings and Traps. Tickets are $25 each or 2 for $40 and can be purchased from any Mitchell Rotarian.  If you would like tickets let me know and I will contact the organizer of the event Emilie Rose.
 
Thank you notes from the community:
 
First is a recipient of funds from our Request Committee Kenneth Riordan……..
 
Also, I had the privilege to attend graduations ceremonies for both Northwestern and Central in November to award a total of 7 Rotary Scholarships.  Here are some thank you notes we have received: …..
 
It is good to see that it isn’t all about raising funds but seeing where they are put to good use in the community.
 
Make-ups: No Report.
 
January’s Attendance Committee: Gerry Culliton (I/C), Bob Martin, Ralph Robinson, Tracy Van Kalsbeek, Karel Hodgert, Bruce McLaren, Katelyn Aitcheson, Diane Sewell, Craig Pearce, Peter Maranger.