Trump starts review of federal 'overreach' in education

Her comments come in the wake of a phone call between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Donald Trump in which Trudeau told Trump he would defend Canada's interests.

Earlier this week, the USA announced that it would impose a tariff of about 20 percent on softwood lumber imported from Canada, a move Trump characterized as his "tough on trade" presidential style.

In Washington, the US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross while praising Canada as its "closest ally and all weather friend" did not fall short of accusing it for engaging in unfair trade practices.

"The Prime Minister stressed that the Government of Canada will vigorously defend the interests of the Canadian softwood lumber industry, as we have successfully done in all past lumber disputes with the USA", the statement further said. "I think they thought they would have a better working relationship".

The U.S. has announced duties of up to 24 per cent on lumber imports, the latest flare-up in the decades-old softwood lumber feud between Canada and its largest trading partner.

Trump told The Associated Press in an interview last week that he planned to either renegotiate or terminate NAFTA, which he and other critics blame for wiping out USA manufacturing jobs because it allowed companies to move factories to Mexico to take advantage of low-wage labor. "But they've outsmarted our politicians for many years, and you people understand that", he said.

Freeland, speaking to reporters on a conference call, also said the United States should treat Canada with respect, given that Canada is a major supplier of softwood.

The move by Canadian dairy producers has cost USA farms over $150 million, according to The Washington Post.

The US President had taken to Twitter early Monday morning to criticise Canada for making "business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very hard". Last year, the United States sold $267 billion in goods to Canada (led by autos and machinery), more than to any other country.

In recent decades, USA presidents have tended to focus most of their trade energy on prying open foreign markets to US exports rather than safeguarding the domestic market against imports.

He said Canada imports over $550 million of dairy products from the United States, but exports just over $110 million to the country.

The heated rhetoric came amid fresh attacks from the USA president against Canada's dairy industry, and just two months after the two leaders held a warm meeting where Trump said the bilateral trade relationship only needed "tweaking". "We do believe that a negotiated deal is achievable".

U.S. lumber firms were encouraged by Trump's actions.

In an eight-page draft letter to Congress, acting U.S. Trade Representative Stephen Vaughn wrote that the administration meant to start talking with Mexico and Canada about making changes to the pact, which took effect in 1994.

Freeland's sharp reminder: We like to be nice, but don't mess with us.

On Tuesday, a Wisconsin state official said about half the state's farms affected by Canada's move had found new buyers for their milk or have promising leads.

  • Joey Payne