Remember back when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Donald Trump at the White House earlier this year, and the two leaders pretended to like each other for the sake of international diplomacy and the cameras? That’s long over now. Trump’s White House has started a strange trade war against Canada involving lumber, and now Trudeau is preparing to retaliate in a manner which could end up hurting Trump with his own core base.
The dispute got fully underway two weeks ago when Donald Trump’s Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross slapped tariffs on the import of Canadian softwood lumber to the tune of around twenty percent (CNBC). This was in line with Trump’s campaign promise to sabotage the North American Free Trade Agreement, under the gibberish pretense that it would somehow help the U.S. economy or bring back low paying jobs to the United States. Trump recently admitted that he’s keeping NAFTA after all (link), but he’s nonetheless trying to create the appearance of cracking down on international trade by going after Canadian lumber. And now that’s about to backfire on him.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that he’s preparing to retaliate by slapping tariffs on the import of coal from the United States (Bloomberg). The U.S. coal industry is already struggling because technological advancements in natural gas drilling have made it much cheaper, thus lessening the demand for coal.
But Trump spent the election promising that he would somehow save coal mining jobs, even though the basic laws of economics say that’s not realistic under the circumstances. And now Trudeau his getting ready to hit Trump where it hurts most, because the coal tariffs will upset Trump’s own base the most. Help fund Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report