President Trump Calls Out Canada for Making Things "Difficult" for Farmers

The Trump administration and USA industry groups say Canada unfairly subsidizes its softwood lumber industry, putting US companies at a competitive disadvantage. Canada denies it does any such thing.

But now - with plans for a wall with Mexico hitting obstacles - he's expressing broader ambitions for the Northern border.

"People don't realize, Canada has been very rough on the United States", the President said to a farmers' group assembled a the White House. We stand firmly with Ontario's forest products workers, and I am committed to continuing to fight hard for their interests.

"I encourage Secretary Perdue to come to Wisconsin to talk with our hardworking Wisconsin dairy farmers who need a level playing field".

Canada is the second-largest US trading partner, and these are the sorts of issues that come up, though usually not via the president's Twitter account. "Thanks for supporting WI dairy farmers!"

"There are no victors in a trade war", Scott Brison, a senior Canadian cabinet member, said by phone from Detroit.

"Today's ruling confirms that Canadian lumber mills are subsidized by their government and benefit from timber pricing policies and other subsidies which harm US manufacturers and workers", said Cameron Krauss, legal chair of COALITION, an ad hoc association of USA lumber producers and related industries. So US farmers can't sell into the Canadian market, but Canadian farmers can sell into the US market.

Ross also addressed the Trump administration's approach to free trade relative to prior U.S. administrations, saying the new White House was more focused on "enforcement" than its predecessors. -Canada trade relations, as is dairy.

The duties will total about $1 billion a year and will be retroactively applied to include lumber imported 90 days ago. The United States had imposed duties in 2002, until a 2006 deal halting them if Canada agreed to a quota and to pay a tax in lieu of a tariff. "It may be enough to stem the bleeding but we do remain hopeful that the United States and Canada can negotiate another softwood lumber agreement". She also argued that since much of the Canadian lumber goes towards building homes in the U.S., the tariffs would cause home prices to go up $3,000 to $4,000. He also threatened to sue. Softwood lumber accounted for $5.6 billion of the imports. "We have prevailed in the past and we will do so again". The American industry relies mostly on harvesting from higher-cost private land.

"The U.S. has a $400 million dairy surplus with Canada so it's not Canada that's the challenge here", Trudeau told Bloomberg.

Watching this administration's actions really is like watching a horror movie. The housing market crash in 2008 cut demand for softwood lumber products such as pine 2×4 studs and other kinds of boards used to build homes, which are among the products affected by the administration's move.

But dairy and timber have long bedeviled U.S. Trump has directed nearly all of his NAFTA criticism at Mexico, until now.