Canadian leaders are pushing hard after President Trump’s administration slapped 20% tariffs on Canadian lumber, along with individual tariffs on five specific firms that ranged from 3% to 24%.
Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Foreign Minister told CNN “When it comes to defending Canada’s economic interests, we’re going to play hard”. “We’re nice guys: Politeness is something we believe is a national virtue, but it’s not an accident that hockey is our national sport,” Freeland note.
Trump on the other hand told reporters he’s not afraid of a trade war with Canada: “We have massive trade deficits. So when we’re the country with the deficits, we have no fear.” U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also said Tuesday at the White House that Canada wasn’t being a “good neighbor,” alleging it was selling lumber at unfair prices.
“Things like this I don’t regard as being a good neighbor, dumping lumber,” referring to the practice of selling a product at prices competitors can’t sell at, Ross said. Ross alleged that Canada was subsidizing its lumber companies to allow them to sell the product into the US market at low prices.
Freeland firmly denied that. She also argued that since much of the Canadian lumber goes towards building homes in the US, the tariffs would cause home prices to go up $3,000 to $4,000. Ross dismissed the idea that US home prices would go up solely as a result of lumber tariffs, saying that the total cost of a home depends much more on the land than the product used to build the home.
The Trump administration’s surprise decision to slap tariffs on Canadian lumber reopens a decades-long trade dispute between the two countries. US lumber companies have accused their Canadian counterparts of receiving government subsidies and dumping lumber into the US market.