Published: Wed, April 26, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

Canada reports progress with US on lumber, 'but not there yet'

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".

Trump has criticized Canada's lumber and dairy policies, saying the latter is a "disgrace" that is hurting USA dairy farmers. We will not stand for this.

However, Trudeau's office was less positive in its assessment of the conversation with Trump, during which the PM "refuted the baseless allegations by the US Department of Commerce and the decision to impose unfair duties", Efe news reported. Also, federal ministers are now fanning out across the U.S.

Freeland said she raised trade matters with first daughter Ivanka Trump on the sidelines of a conference in Berlin on Tuesday, though it wasn't the focus of the meeting. "The message here is that the US not only talks tough, it acts tough". The move, which affects some $5.66 billion worth of imports of the construction material, sets a tense tone as the two countries and Mexico prepare to renegotiate the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

Ivanka Trump pushing the administration to study Canada's maternal leave program.

"People don't realize Canada's been very rough on the United States". "I know that's not such a popular sentiment for governments to express".

In a way, the tensions are surprising.

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said Canada was mulling options such as a World Trade Organization or NAFTA challenge, and would help companies and workers who lose their jobs because of the tariff. But others urged Canada to get tougher.

A long road remains after Donald Trump fired the starting pistol in yet another softwood lumber fight, one of several trade disputes the USA and Canada are set to spend years sorting out. Negotiations look sure to run into Mexico's presidential cycle in 2018, with US midterm elections due later that year and a Canadian election due in 2019.

Freeland said she's glad that Canada's free-trade accord with the European Union, known as CETA, was completed before the United Kingdom leaves the EU. Lumber prices have already risen 22 percent since the beginning of the year, after a ten-year treaty that governed the import of lumber from Canada expired.

The Obama administration sought a new accord with Canada over softwood lumber.

Federal ministers are now fanning out across the USA, meeting people who benefit from Canadian trade.

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