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Canadian leader responds to lumber tariffs imposed by the US

Canadian leader responds to lumber tariffs imposed by the US

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Tuesday that Canada and the US could suffer a "thickening" border as the Trump administration imposes new tariffs on softwood lumber and trade tensions between the two countries escalate.

Trade tensions spiked between Washington and Ottawa on Tuesday as President Donald Trump accused Canada of being "very rough" on America and threatened to retaliate against restrictions on U.S. dairy products. In Canada, the provinces subsidize the lumber industry allowing them to charge a lower subsidized price on exports to the US.

Sources say the White House plans to release new information on its plans for NAFTA very soon.

New Democrat Leader John Horgan says he's disappointed by the American tariffs and is accusing Clark of failing to make the ongoing trade dispute enough of a priority.

Premier Brad Wall says while the incoming tariffs on Canadian lumber exports to the USA, which will range from three to 24 per cent, are serious - they're not unexpected.

Its members are alarmed by fresh statements by President Donald Trump that he wants his administration to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement linking the US, Mexican and Canadian markets.

"This is not our idea of a properly functioning Free Trade Agreement, " Ross said.

"At the end of the day it really is not a big factor for us, I mean this happens on a yearly basis", Al Dorn, Jr., the general contractor with Al Dorn Construction, said. "But they still have to play by the rules".

On Tuesday, Trudeau and Trump spoke about the issues by phone, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement. Canada sold $278 billion in goods to the United States, led by fuels, autos, and machinery.

Canada recently made a decision to change its policy on pricing domestic milk to cover more dairy ingredients, leading to lower prices for products, including ultra-filtered milk. Last year, the US sold $267billion in goods to Canada (led by autos and machinery), more than to any other country.

The US Dairy Export Council said the extension "blatantly blocks American dairy exports", urging Trump to "take immediate action" to protect the business of dozens of US farmers. The problem is the reverse, they're prohibiting U.S. dairy producers from selling their products in Canada, as a practical matter, and we're looking into whether there are measures we can do to try to correct that, he said. He says they are now trying to "fashion some fake controversy for us to fight over in order to shut the government down and blame us". The problem is worse.

The heated rhetoric came amid fresh attacks from the USA president against Canada's dairy industry.

In the long-standing dispute, the Commerce Department announced late Monday that after talks with Ottawa failed to yield an agreement, it would impose duties of between three and 24 percent on softwood lumber, used for flooring, siding and other building products.

To combat the effect, Ross said that the USA would impose a 20 percent tariff on Canadian soft lumber, which would bring in $1 billion a year.

NDP Leader John Horgan said he was disappointed by the USA decision to impose tariffs.

But in a statement, the National Association of Homebuilders predicts other parts of the U.S. won't be so lucky.

Officials in Canada rejected the claims and called the duties "unfair and punitive". "We're aware of that", Canada's Resources Minister, Jim Carr, said at a news conference.

He said there is roughly $15 billion worth of softwood lumber used in houses in the USA and about 31.5% of that comes from the Canadians."So that's roughly $5 billion a year".

Producers north of the border reacted furiously to the ruling. Yurkovich said that was unprecedented for the Department of Commerce and "entirely arbitrary". "If Canada and Trudeau are smart they will invest in underlying the direct costs that will be borne by home buyers here", Bruen said.

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