Trump Blasts Canada’s ‘Restrictive’ Trade Policies

After Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for “common sense to prevail” over tariffs, President Donald Trump retaliated…

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Justin Trudeau & Donald Trump/IMAGE: C-SPAN

(AFP) – US President Donald Trump on Friday complained of Canada’s “restrictive” trade practices, after Ottawa retaliated against US tariffs on steel and aluminum.

“Canada has treated our Agricultural business and Farmers very poorly for a very long period of time,” Trump tweeted.

“Highly restrictive on Trade! They must open their markets and take down their trade barriers! They report a really high surplus on trade with us.”

His comments followed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s call one day prior for “common sense to prevail,” after Washington hit Canada and other close allies with tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum beginning Friday.

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In response, Canada said proportional duties would be imposed on US steel, aluminum and consumer goods from July 1.

The European Union and Mexico also drew up retaliatory measures, putting the world’s largest economies on the brink of a trade war.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Thursday that the United States has a US$2 billion trade surplus with Canada in steel, and that “roughly half” of all US steel exports go to Canada.

In November the US Commerce Department affirmed findings that Canadian softwood lumber producers had unfairly subsidized and dumped product on the United States market.

The US has also demanded access to Canada’s protected dairy sector.

The intensified trade conflict coincides with bogged down negotiations between Canada, Mexico and the US to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement. Those talks were trigged last year by Trump who called that pact a “disaster.”

The US is Canada’s largest trading partner.