President Donald Trump has long had a chip on his shoulder about American trade policy, and now it looks like that policy obsession is going to strain one of America's closest bilateral relationships.
The first hints of Trump's new approach toward Canada became evident last week, when he began to complain about that country's competition with America in specific industries.
"We can’t let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Thursday. "Included in there is lumber, timber and energy. We’re going to have to get to the negotiating table with Canada very, very quickly."
The president later added, "Canada, what they’ve done to our dairy farm workers, is a disgrace. It’s a disgrace. Rules, regulations, different things have changed — and our farmers in Wisconsin and New York state are being put out of business."
Trump repeated this last complaint via Twitter on Tuesday.
On Monday, Trump added policy to back up his words by imposing tariffs as high as 24 percent on Canadian softwood lumber, according to a report by Bloomberg. A reporter from Breitbart tweeted that Trump had said, "We’re going to be putting a 20 percent tax on softwood lumber coming in — tariff on softwood coming into the United States from Canada."
In a hint that this may be part of a larger plan by Trump to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement that includes America and Canada, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross condemned Canada's trade policies involving the dairy and lumber industries in a statement that contended, "This is not our idea of a properly functioning Free Trade Agreement."
In related news, Canada does not share a border with Wisconsin.
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