Three months after taking office, U.S. President Trump has finally returned to his campaign promises of revising America’s trade relationships with a protectionist bent. After suggesting he was only considering ‘tweaks’ to trade rules with Canada, he has turned his focus over the past couple of weeks northward unleashing a barrage of tweets and comments.
Lumber became the first target as it has been a major trade nuisance between the U.S. and Canada for decades. The U.S. Commerce Department concluded that Canadian softwood lumber exporters benefit from countervailable subsidies of approximately 20% on average. Canada’s softwood lumber exports amounted to US$5.66bn in 2016.