No trade war with Canada: Trump team

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - ALEXAN­DER PANETTA

WASH­ING­TON — The White House is down­play­ing talk of a U.S. trade war with Canada, with U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s spokesper­son brush­ing off the no­tion when asked about it Mon­day.

“No,” Sean Spicer said when asked whether he sees a northsouth trade war es­ca­lat­ing.

He said reg­u­lar trade rem­edy pro­ce­dures are sim­ply do­ing their job. The U.S. has slapped tar­iffs as high as 24 per cent on Cana­dian lum­ber, as part of its long-stand­ing view that Cana­dian log­ging com­pa­nies get un­fair sub­si­dies.

The Cana­dian gov­ern­ment is now con­sid­er­ing re­tal­i­a­tion in two ar­eas: one is a pos­si­ble ban on ex­ports of U.S. coal from B.C., and gov­ern­ment sources say the other is a study of po­ten­tial du­ties against prod­ucts from Ore­gon.

The tar­get­ing of Ore­gon is re­lated to the fact that Cana­dian of­fi­cials see that state’s Demo­cratic Sen. Ron Wy­den as a par­tic­u­larly ob­sti­nate op­po­nent of a soft­wood lum­ber set­tle­ment.

Sources tell The Cana­dian Press that fed­eral of­fi­cials are por­ing through ex­am­ples from Ore­gon state of sub­si­dies for busi­nesses, and ex­plor­ing grounds for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that could re­sult in du­ties on Ore­gon ply­wood, floor­ing, wood chips, pack­ing and wine.

U.S. Com­merce Sec­re­tary Wil­bur Ross said over the week­end that he won’t be pres­sured into mak­ing a lum­ber deal.

The pres­i­dent’s spokesper­son said Mon­day that the U.S. is merely fol­low­ing its le­gal, le­git­i­mate trade-dis­pute prac­tices. Do­mes­tic law al­lows U.S. lum­ber pro­duc­ers to seek an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and puni­tive du­ties if they feel un­fairly un­der­cut; the U.S. gov­ern­ment agrees with them that Cana­dian ri­vals’ low-fee ac­cess to pub­lic land com­prises a subsidy.

“That’s why we have dis­pute-set­tle­ment mech­a­nisms to do this in a re­spon­si­ble way,” Spicer said. “Let’s let it play out. But I think sec­re­tary Ross took ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion to pro­tect the U.S. in­dus­try and we’re go­ing to let the process play out.”


White House Press Sec­re­tary Sean Spicer takes ques­tions from re­porters dur­ing the daily brief­ing at the White House in Wash­ing­ton on Mon­day.

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