Tariff War Between U.S. and Canada Escalates

Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, facing both domestic and international headwinds, is seeking to consolidate Canadian political power amid a dispute with the United States.

As the New York Times reported, Trudeau’s war of words with President Donald Trump has escalated into a tariff war. Though Trudeau’s government was initially conciliatory toward the Trump Administration, the latter has not proven to be a cooperative negotiating partner.

Trump’s America-first trade policies, initially directed against rising economic powerhouses like China, have expanded to affect even traditional allies like Canada. Trudeau and the Canadian Parliament formally objected to the United States’ tariffs on Canadian products like lumber. In response to American actions, Canada has instituted steep tariffs of its own on U.S. products.

As he’s dealing with foreign affairs–the G7 Summit, which took place in Canada, concluded recently–Trudeau also has to face declining popularity in his home country. After his election, his approval numbers among the Canadian public began a slow slide.

During his spat with Trump, he saw a brief increase in his popularity. But that increase may not last until the Canadian federal election in 2019. Trudeau’s political strength depends on support from Parliament, where his party has only a narrow majority.
The U.S.-Canada trade war has helped him: the opposition New Democratic Party sponsored legislation supporting his administration and passing tariffs to strengthen the Canadian position.

 

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