Trump picks trade fight with Canada

Miranda GreerApr 28, 2017

While they discussed the dairy and lumber irritants, the White House said: "It was a very amicable call".

Trump also touted his administration's surprise decision late Monday to rekindle an old trade conflict with America's second-largest trading partner by slapping new tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber.

In this case, the aim would not be so much to withdraw from NAFTA, which Trump has called a "disaster" for the U.S., but rather to force Mexico and Canada to more fully engage in renegotiating the trade pact.

On Monday, the Commerce Department announced it has determined a need to impose the new tariff averaging 20 percent on Canadian softwood lumber imports.

Blame it on NAFTA?

Softwood lumber is unloaded at Murray Brothers Lumber Company woodlot in Madawaska, Ontario on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

According to the Canadian Press, disputes over lumber pricing between the two countries typically come up once every 10 years and usually result in negotiated settlements.

US President Donald Trump is considering notifying Canada and Mexico that he is starting the process to withdraw the United States from the three nations' North American Free Trade Agreement, three people familiar with the process said.

In an eight-page draft letter to Congress, acting U.S. Trade Representative Stephen Vaughn wrote that the administration meant to start talking with Mexico and Canada about making changes to the pact, which took effect in 1994.

"Trump did target Canada".

However, it's important to bear in mind that NAFTA negotiations have not started yet, she said.

The Trump administration last month submitted a vague set of guidelines to Congress for renegotiating NAFTA, disappointing those who were expecting Trump to demand a major overhaul.

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The customer is always right?
At 9:22 a.m. ET, the Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.3594 to the greenback, or 73.56 US cents, weaker than Monday's close of C$1.3516, or 73.99 USA cents.

"Even if we keep feeding the cows and milking them, it still costs us money", Prosser said.

The National Association of Home Builders estimated that while the new tariffs would increase output for US producers, they would add $1,236 to the price of an average single-family home and lead to a loss of almost $500 million in wages for American workers.

Other regions of the country that ship more softwood south of the border may absorb bigger hits from the latest USA move in the long-running dispute. "Any two countries are going to have issues that will be irritants to the relationship and, quite frankly, having a good constructive working relationship allows us to work through those irritants". "We believe the Canadians violated legitimate practice", he added.

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