Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Tuesday that Canada and the USA could suffer a "thickening" border as the Trump administration imposes new tariffs on softwood lumber and trade tensions between the two countries escalate.
Trump's aggressive comments echoed a tweet he sent earlier in the day, just hours after the Commerce Department announced it was imposing tariffs of up to 24 percent on Canadian softwood lumber, which it says is improperly subsidized. The US president said on Twitter that Canada had made business for the dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very hard.
It said Mr Trudeau confirmed that Canada would uphold the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), which gives the United States duty-free access for milk protein substances, but that his country would "continue to defend its interests".
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U.S. lumber firms were encouraged by Trump's actions.
Federal ministers are now fanning out across the USA, meeting people who benefit from Canadian trade.
The Prime Minister also pointed out that "Canada would continue to defend its interests" despite pressure from its southern neighbour. Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar dropped to a 4-month low against the US dollar after Trump announced the tariff, trading down 0.40 percent to C$1.356.
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By comparison, ahead of the 2015 general election, which the Conservatives won, polls showed the two parties were roughly level. Theresa May has made clear a "weak" Labour leader will be the focus of her campaign.
Freeland said she's glad that Canada's free-trade accord with the European Union, known as CETA, was completed before the United Kingdom leaves the EU.
Ross said the preliminary decision that was put out imposes those countervailing duties on softwood lumber from Canada.
USA dairy producers were previously sending ultra-filtered milk to Canada without being subject to heavy tariffs.
"Obviously, the companies are not going to sell their lumber if they are going to lose money", he said.
Earlier, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said Canada was preparing aid for forestry companies and rural communities that will be impacted by the U.S. duties, while holding out hope for a negotiated settlement. "They are prohibiting USA dairy producers from selling their products in Canada", Ross said. If you look at Canada, what are we?
"We look forward to constructive discussions with the Canadians as we get into NAFTA", Ross concluded.
Mr Trump is a long-term critic of the North American Free Trade Agreement, but so far he has directed most of his concerns toward US/Mexico trade relations.
British leaders including Prime Minister Theresa May have told Canadian officials "they are extremely keen for CETA to be a floor of our economic relationship", Freeland said. "The best we can do is lobby and sit down at the table", said Cornelis van Kooten, Canada research chair in the University of Victoria's department of economics.