As everyone knows, it’s not a good idea to pick a fight with your neighbors, especially if they have no intention of moving. Unfortunately, this lesson seems to have escaped certain quarters of the Trump administration that have ratcheted up trade tensions with Mexico and now Canada.
While Mexico has been the administration’s piñata since Day One, Canada, thinking it was free and clear from this administration’s protectionist actions in light of the warm and positive meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau, received a rude awakening last month.
On April 24, the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed duties averaging 20 percent on imports of Canadian softwood lumber (expect a rise in new housing costs), alleging that Canadian firms pay too little to harvest trees. Dairy farmers and producers of steel and energy are also slated for punishment, with the United States claiming unfair trade practices such as subsidization and dumping. (Never mind that that U.S. import restrictions and tax subsidies to the tune of billions of dollars support agriculture, financial services, utilities, oil and gas, telecoms, and scores of other industries.)