Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump take part in a joint press conference at the White House on Feb. 13, 2017. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)That's what he wrote the morning after his government announced initial duties up to 24 per cent on Canadian lumber, with more expected later this year. Lumber and dairy are longstanding irritants — and were also a problem file under previous presidents. In softwood lumber, the countries have a once-a-decade cycle of tariffs, trade litigation, and ultimately settlements. What's new is how Trump is playing up the issue. While Barack Obama referred to lumber as a minor irritant, the self-styled America First president is playing up these irritants as examples of his desire to get tough on trade.
Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very difficult. We will not stand for this. Watch!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2017
'Not our idea of a properly functioning free trade agreement'"This is not our idea of a properly functioning free trade agreement." The softwood spat is unfolding amid a much bigger trade issue — the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Despite remarks from the president and his cabinet secretary, neither lumber nor dairy are actually part of the current NAFTA. However, different actors would be pleased to add provisions on one or the other.
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