Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sorry Mexico, Step Aside China; It's Canada's Turn to Get Blasted by Trump

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sorry Mexico, Step Aside China; It's Canada's Turn to Get Blasted by Trump

Article excerpt

Trump setting trade sights on Canada


WASHINGTON - Step aside, China and Mexico: Canada is now U.S. President Donald Trump's whipping-boy-du-jour on trade, something he made abundantly clear Tuesday with a tweet, a tax, a threat, a scolding and a familiar faux-compliment he used to lavish on others.

A preferred Trump tactic is to compliment sly foreigners for outfoxing his supposedly dim-witted presidential predecessors in trade deals. In the 1990s, he said it about Japan. More recently, it was China and Mexico.

Now, as NAFTA negotiations approach, it's the hockey-happy moose haven to the north that's pulled a fast one, he suggested Tuesday, one day after he announced a 20 per cent duty on softwood lumber.

"People don't realize Canada's been very rough on the United States. Everyone thinks of Canada as being wonderful, and so do I. I love Canada,'' Trump said during one of his now-familiar photo ops.

''But they've outsmarted our politicians for many years."

Trump also used Twitter, his preferred platform, to reprise his recent threats about Canada's dairy industry.

"Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very difficult," he tweeted. "We will not stand for this. Watch!"

Then later, of Canada's recent adjustments to dairy regulations, he said: ''We're not gonna put up with it."

Some members of the Canadian government suspect this is all a negotiating ploy in the runup to NAFTA talks. Days ago, one official predicted this would prove to be a shock-and-awe negotiating tactic, symptomatic of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross's style.

Right on cue, Ross strode to the White House podium Tuesday to make it clear: all these issues were, indeed, related to NAFTA. He said all these irritants prove the agreement could be improved.

"Everything relates to everything else when you're trying to negotiate," Ross told a press briefing at the White House, referring to dairy and lumber. …

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