Trump Phone Call With Trudeau on Dairy, Lumber Trade 'Amicable' - White House

Randall Padilla
May 8, 2017

The president tweeted Tuesday: "Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very hard".

Canadian exports of softwood lumber to the United States in 2016 were valued at $5.6 billion a year ago, the Commerce Department reported.

The Canadian American Business Council took umbrage at a comment by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that NAFTA wasn't "functioning properly", allegedly because Canada was exporting subsidized lumber to the US and was preventing easy access to its market by American dairy farmers. The move triggered the fifth bilateral dispute over Canadian lumber in less than 40 years. "And we're not going to put up with it", Trump said during a round table Tuesday with farmers Trump.

"We have made progress in our conversations but we are not there yet", she told reporters. "I believe the last tariff we had was around 27 percent".

"This new trade action is driven by the same protectionist lumber lobby in the US whose sole objective is to create artificial supply constraints on lumber and drive prices up for their benefit, at the expense of American consumers", said Susan Yurkovich, B.C. Lumber Trade Council president.

The tariff's effects could have far reaching implications for economic relations between the United States and Canada. Mexico is the other NAFTA member.

Trudeau is also said to have brought up the issue during his conversation with the USA president. "But we are also absolutely prepared to fight this out in the courts and we're only going to do a deal that's good for Canada".

On Tuesday, Trudeau and Trump spoke on the phone about the lumber disagreement as well as complaints over dairy trade.

That's the reason why despite the repeated cycles of disputes over the past four decades the two sides have always come to a deal, she said.

"I would say to my American friends: Be nice to your clients", Freeland said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Berlin on Wednesday.

"If the market was being flooded by cheap Canadian lumber, you wouldn't see that happening right now".

Shares in West Fraser Timber Co, which would pay the highest duty rate of the affected companies, rose 5.6 percent to C$59.50 and Canfor Corp stock gained 3.5 percent to C$18.82.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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