Published: Wed, May 03, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

USA under Trump Series Lumber crash between Trudeau and Trump

USA under Trump Series Lumber crash between Trudeau and Trump

The Trump administration's decision to slap tariffs on lumber imported from Canada should serve as a warning to its partners that the U.S.is planning stricter enforcement of trade laws, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said.

President Trump unveiled a new tax of up to 24 percent on imported Canadian soft timber, claiming Canada's lumber industry is government subsidized. He also denounced Canada's dairy supply management system as a "disgrace" that is costing American farmers their livelihoods.

Premier Christy Clark and cabinet ministers are interrupting their election campaign to respond to the U.S. Commerce Department's decision to impose duties of about 20 per cent on Canadian lumber exports.

Trump has blamed NAFTA for American job losses. Logs are unloaded at Murray Brothers Lumber Company woodlot in Madawaska, Ontario on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

According to the Commerce Department in the US, imports of Canadian softwood lumber were valued at over $5.66 billion during 2016.

Trump has branded NAFTA "a disaster" for American workers, vowing to renegotiate the three-way trade treaty between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

"Canada is ready to come to the table at any time", Freeland said.

"Having dealt with the Softwood IV negotiations, I'm well aware of the complexities and competing interests and feel confident I can fight for a good deal for Ontario", said Peterson in a statement.

"There is enormous potential", he said from Beijing, citing the large number of Chinese homebuilders and furniture makers who needed lumber.

Scott: "It is pretty intermixed as far as where you get it from".

The customer is always right?

Canada's share of the United States lumber market has ranged from 26 per cent to 31.5 per cent since 2006, when the countries signed an agreement, down from 34 per cent, before that, said Duncan Davies, chief executive of lumber producer Interfor Corp.

Freeland's sharp reminder: We like to be nice, but don't mess with us.

But it's just one of a number of options being discussed.

"This is caused by a protectionist industry in the U.S.", Champagne said in an interview.

The United States and Canada typically have friendly trade relationships but that has soured recently. In four previous softwood lumber disputes at NAFTA and the WTO, Ottawa successfully argued that the use of public land did not give Canadian producers an unfair advantage over their American counterparts.

"We believe that there is a good win-win negotiated outcome that is possible here", Freeland said.

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