The US And Canada Are Fighting About Milk And Wood - Again

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada and the USA could suffer from a "thickening" border a day after the Trump administration imposed new tariffs on softwood lumber and trade tensions between the two countries escalated.

As a candidate, Trump had vowed to declare China a currency manipulator and to rewrite or withdraw from the North America Free Trade Agreement because, he said, so many American factories had moved jobs to Mexico to exploit low-wage labor.

At Tuesday's White House press briefing, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross told reporters the taxes were being imposed, because Canada had "violated legitimate practice".

U.S. Department of Commerce officials on Monday accused Canada of collecting extra subsidies on lumber exports to the U.S. and ordered U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash duties ranging from 3%-24%, a decision expected to spoil trade relations. "So I don't think it has anything to do with the personal relationship between Mr. Trudeau and the president". "It's another typical one-sided deal against the United States and it's not going to be happening for long", said Trump.

"The US has a $400 million dairy surplus with Canada, so it's not Canada that's the challenge here", Trudeau said last week in an interview with Bloomberg. The two countries have patched over their differences on Canada's softwood lumber imports, most recently with a compromise that expired in 2015.

Ross said the Trump administration might intercede to aid Toshiba Corp's (tosbf) USA unit Westinghouse Electric, which filed for bankruptcy last month.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration moved forward with higher tariffs on imported Canadian lumber.

If the proposed duties are made effective then the Canadian lumber export worth around 5 billion dollars will now be charged with 1 billion dollar in duty. "But they've outsmarted our politicians for many years, and you people understand that", he said.

The softwood lumber dispute between Washington and Ottawa has also seen many twists and turns for almost 35 years, with United States producers accusing their Canadian counterparts of exporting lumber at subsidized prices, harming American businesses.

"The big losers in the softwood lumber dispute are American consumers", Freeland argued.

The phone call comes a day after Trump signed an executive agricultural order, criticising what he viewed as unfair dairy trade practices and complaining that farmers in USA states that border Canada, such as Wisconsin, New York and others, "are not able to sell their dairy products into Canada". It's something the US lumber industry wanted to help level the playing field, but some fear it could mean higher lumber costs here. Canada sold $278 billion in goods to the United States, led by fuels, autos and machinery.

Canada has also restricted imports of USA milk products used by cheesemakers.

In an exclusive one-on-one interview with CTV's Richard Madan in Washington, D.C., the Trump administration's commerce chief touched on recent flare-ups over Canada's dairy and softwood lumber industries, and discussed other sectors that may be reconsidered under NAFTA.

  • Zachary Reyes