US commerce secretary eyes more trade moves

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The U.S. lumber industry filed a complaint last fall with the Commerce Department after a year of unsuccessful negotiations between U.S. and Canada following the expiration of a bilateral agreement on softwood lumber.

He said Canada is prepared to agree to an import quota, for example, in exchange for "stable and predictable" USA market access for its softwood.

Ross has said that lumber and dairy have erupted as irritants because they are not properly addressed in the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump has threatened to scrap if it can't be renegotiated.

US President Donald Trump and Canada's PM Justin Trudeau.

The White House described Tuesday's telephonic conversation between the two leaders as very amicable.

If imports do become too expensive, the lumber industry in the United States may look for an alternative.

"Today's ruling confirms that Canadian lumber mills are subsidized by their government and benefit from lumber pricing policies", Cameron Krauss, legal chair for the U.S. Lumber Coalition, said in a statement.

"We believe that there is a good win-win negotiated outcome that is possible here", Freeland said.

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"We will work constructively together" to try to find solutions to these trade disputes, Trudeau said, while downplaying Trump's strong rhetoric.

"The allegations made by the USA lumber lobby are the same arguments they made in prior rounds of litigation, all of which were rejected and overturned by independent NAFTA panels", she said, denouncing a "protectionist" attempt to "create artificial supply constraints on lumber and drive prices up".

Trudeau responded to the new softwood tariff Tuesday, saying that a "thickening" border would be detrimental to both the US and Canada.

Trump tweeted Tuesday that Canada is making life "very difficult" for American dairy farmers and that the government "will not stand" for it.

"Any two countries are going to have issues that will be irritants to the relationship and, quite frankly, having a good constructive working relationship allows us to work through those irritants".

Canadian Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, in China to boost sales of softwood lumber, said there had never been a better time to diversify exports. The announcement Monday is likely to lead to lawsuits and a standoff between the United States and Canada, which could lead to a broader trade war, CNN reported Tuesday.

In Ottawa, the Canadian officials jumped up to respond Washington's decision to impose duties around 20 per cent on Canadian softwood products.