Westshore stock recovers after Canada region seeks U.S. coal ban

Shares of port-operator Westshore
Terminals Investment Corp recovered some lost ground on
Thursday after dropping sharply a day earlier on news British
Columbia had urged the government to ban U.S. coal exports from
provincial ports in a trade spat.

Shares of Westshore, which operates North America’s largest
coal export terminal, lost nearly one-fifth of their value on
Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange before closing 11.8
percent lower.

The shares were up 1.8 percent on the day on Thursday at
C$23.44.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British
Columbia Premier Christy Clark had asked the federal government
to ban transshipments of U.S. thermal coal for Asia through her
province. Clark requested the ban in reprisal for the U.S.
decision on Monday to impose a 20-percent tariff on softwood
lumber.

British Columbia is Canada’s largest provincial producer and
exporter of softwood lumber, accounting for 50 percent of
Canada’s exports to the United States.

Asked whether Ottawa would grant Clark’s request, Trudeau
press secretary Cameron Ahmad said: “We’re considering it as we
would seriously consider any other request from a premier.”

Nick Desmarais, a spokesman for Westshore, on Thursday
dismissed Wednesday’s hit to the company’s shares as “typical
stock market reaction” to Clark’s letter, which he said would
not result in a ban. He added that he expected the shares to
bounce back.

Clark’s letter, which she made public, came as her Liberal
Party, unaffiliated with Trudeau’s federal Liberals, is slipping
in the polls for a May 9 election. The opposition New Democratic
Party has surged to a lead of almost 10 percentage points,
according to a new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll released on
Tuesday.

A spokesman for Cloud Peak Energy Inc, one of the
biggest U.S. coal companies exporting coal through British
Columbia, said: “We are aware of the (Clark) letter. Cloud Peak
Energy values our Canadian trading partners and hopes this
matter is resolved to benefit all interests.”

Cloud Peak shares closed 6.6 percent lower on Wednesday and
were down 7 percent on the day on Thursday.

In Quebec, another big lumber-producing province, softwood
negotiator Raymond Chretien said the sides should try to settle
the dispute ahead of efforts to renegotiate terms of the North
American Free Trade Agreement, another source of trade friction
between Canada and the United States.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was ready to
kill the 23-year-old trade agreement but agreed to renegotiate
it due to pleas from the leaders of Canada and Mexico.
(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal, Ethan Lou in
Calgary, Alberta, and Valerie Volcovici in Washington)


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Overseas voters kick off crucial French presidential election

By Bate Felix and Daniel Pardon
| PARIS/PAPEETE, French Polynesia

PARIS/PAPEETE, French Polynesia French overseas territories and French residents in the United States and Canada began voting on Saturday in France’s presidential election, a day before the main first-round of a poll that could change the global political landscape.

Of nearly 47 million registered French voters, there are fewer than a million resident in far-flung places like French Polynesia in the South Pacific, and Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Martinique in the Caribbean. They vote early so as not to be influenced by the mainland results, due on Sunday evening at around 1800 GMT.

The first round will send two of 11 candidates into a run-off vote in two weeks’ time to pick a new president for France, a core member of the European Union and the NATO alliance, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and the world’s fifth largest economy.

With two anti-globalisation candidates whose policies could break up the EU among the four front-runners, the vote is of major significance to the international political status quo and to investment markets.

Coming after the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and Britain’s Brexit vote to quit the EU, few experts dare rule out a shock, and all of the likely outcomes will usher in a period of political uncertainty in France.

Polls make centrist and pro-European Emmanuel Macron the favourite, but he has no established party of his own and is a relatively unknown political quantity.

His three close rivals, according to voting surveys, include the anti-EU, anti-immigration National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who would dump the euro currency and revive the French franc. Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon wants France to rip up international trade treaties and quit NATO, while conservative Francois Fillon’s reputation has been sullied by a nepotism scandal.

“The election of either Le Pen or Melenchon would put Paris on a fast-track collision course with (EU officials in) Brussels,” said James Shields, professor of French politics at Aston University in Britain.

“The election of Marine Le Pen would make Brexit look trivial by comparison.”

LONG QUEUE IN MONTREAL

Although pollsters put Le Pen in second place behind Macron in the first round, she is seen as unlikely to win the second. Melenchon, by contrast, could take the presidency according to some scenarios.

Polls in the dying days of the campaign put all the candidates roughly on between a fifth and a quarter of the vote, with around five percentage points or less separating them — threatening the margin of error for polling companies.

High levels of abstention and indecision are also a key factor.

Voters in the tiny French island of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, south of Canada’s Newfoundland in the north Atlantic, were first to start voting on Saturday morning.

In other U.S. cities and in Canada, voting took place at French consular offices. In Montreal, voters waited for up to three hours in a queue stretching for over 2 km (1.24 miles), suggesting a big turnout, French media reported.

Results from ballots cast in the territories and North America will remain sealed until Sunday evening and after polls have closed in mainland France.

France will be voting under tight security with over 50,000 police and other security branches fully mobilised for special election duty.

Security was thrust to the fore of the already acrimonious campaign after a policeman was killed by a suspected Islamist militant in Paris on Thursday.

Le Parisien newspaper said French government security authority the DCSP had circulated a note saying the threat during the elections of a militant attack like the ones that have killed more than 230 people in the past two years in France was a “constant and pregnant” one.

Legislative elections are due to follow in June.

(Additional reporting by Elizabeth Pineau and Andrew Callus; Editing by Andrew Callus and Catherine Evans)


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Mexican growth beating expectations for first time in government: finance minister

© Reuters. Mexican Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade speaks during a conference with the Civil Engineers of Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico© Reuters. Mexican Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade speaks during a conference with the Civil Engineers of Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Economic growth in Mexico is outperforming expectations for the first time in President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration, Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade said Friday.

Speaking at an event in Washington, Meade added that Mexico has been grappling with challenges related to the exchange rate because of uncertainty over U.S.-Mexico relations.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to dump the NAFTA trade deal that binds Mexico, the United States and Canada if he cannot recast it in favor of the United States.

Meade said he was hopeful a good agreement could be reached with the United States as the countries gear up to renegotiate NAFTA.

Uncertainty over the future of NAFTA has dampened expectations for the Mexican economy.

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Trump: Dairy trade dispute with Canada a ‘disgrace’ caused by NAFTA

President Trump blasted Canada on Thursday over a trade dispute affecting dairy farmers, calling it a “disgrace” that’s the result of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“What they’ve done to our dairy farm workers is a disgrace. It’s a disgrace,” Trump said Thursday, adding that he thinks NAFTA has been “a disaster for our country.” 

That echoed comments he made Tuesday during a visit to Wisconsin, where he said “in Canada, some very unfair things have happened to our dairy farmers” and promised to “start working on that.”

“What’s happened to you is very, very unfair. It’s another typical one-sided deal against the U.S. and it’s not going to be happening for long,” he added.

ADVERTISEMENT

Canada, one of the U.S.’s top trading partners, has imposed an import tax on ultra-filtered milk, a product used in the cheese-making process. It had previously been duty-free, but the Canadian government levied the tax after dairy farmers north of the border complained about U.S. imports. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed back against Trump’s comments Thursday, saying dairy is protected “for good reason.”

“The U.S. has a $400 million dairy surplus with Canada so it’s not Canada that’s the challenge here,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg. “Let’s not pretend we’re in a global free market when it comes to agriculture.”

The trade dispute affecting dairy farmers in states such as Wisconsin and New York provided a hook for Trump to announce that the White House plans to propose changes to NAFTA soon.

“We’ll be reporting back some time over the next two weeks as to NAFTA and what we’re going to do about it,” the president told reporters in the Oval Office Thursday after signing a memorandum ordering the Commerce Department to investigate illegal steel dumping.

Trump, who has frequently bashed the free trade deal with Canada and Mexico, did not hint at what the changes might be.

The president’s broadside against Canada on Thursday is remarkable because the neighboring nation is the U.S.’s second-largest trading partner and is the biggest market for U.S. exports.

But Trump has repeatedly pledged to take a tough approach in order to strike better trade deals for American exporters. 

– Updated at 2:26 p.m.

Go to Source

Surging Toronto Home Prices Force Government Curbs on Buyers (1)

(Bloomberg) — The Toronto housing market will get a new tax to fend off speculators and expanded rent-hike protection as Ontario attempts to slow record home-price growth.

Ontario officials announced a slew of measures on Thursday for Toronto and surrounding areas meant to control what some economists, investors and policy makers call a price bubble that’s putting the broader economy at risk.

The 15 percent levy will apply to non-Canadian citizens, non-permanent residents and non-Canadian corporations buying residential properties containing one to six units in the greater Toronto area, the provincial government said in a statement Thursday. Rent control will be imposed on buildings constructed after 1991 — effective April 20 — which limits annual increases.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to dispel any notion that Ontario’s proposed 15 percent tax on foreign homebuyers is a sign the country is shunning foreign investment.

“We are open to global investment,” Trudeau said in Toronto during an interview with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait. The levy aims to differentiate between buyers who are “living to move” or merely betting on the housing market, Trudeau said.

Data Dearth

Both Trudeau and the Ontario officials acknowledged that Canada needs better information on who is purchasing property in the country.

Canada faces “a dearth of data on whose doing what,” Trudeau said.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s administration will also take steps to boost supply: the Ontario Fair Housing Plan includes 12 measures, such as a targeted C$125 million ($93 million) five-year program to encourage building of new rental apartment buildings by rebating a portion of development charges.

“In some ways, we have to realize that this is a good problem to have,” Wynne said Thursday in a briefing. The price increases reflect confidence in Ontario’s economy, but when young people cannot afford homes “we know we have a problem and we know we have to act,” she said.

‘Get Hurt’

Separately, Prem Watsa, head of Canadian investment firm Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., said on Thursday the Toronto real estate market is in a bubble that will end with pain for banks that financed the growth.

“Most banks can’t survive a 50 percent drop in real estate values,” Watsa said Thursday during Fairfax’s annual general meeting in Toronto. “It’s going to come down, and a lot of people are going to get hurt.”

The bubble warning and new housing measures came the same day troubled Canadian alternative-mortgage lender Home Capital Group Inc. fell as much as 21 percent, the most intraday in 11 years, after the Ontario financial regulator alleged that executives misled investors and broke securities laws.

The bubble warning and new housing measures came the same day troubled Canadian alternative-mortgage lender Home Capital Group Inc. fell as much as 21 percent, the most intraday in 11 years, after the Ontario financial regulator alleged that executives misled investors and broke securities laws.

Main Measures Proposed

  • The foreign buyers tax won’t apply to refugees and immigrant nominees, and a rebate could be available for those who get citizenship later
  • Increase in rents is capped at 2.5 percent, with some exceptions
  • Government to amend the Residential Tenancies Act to clarify text of leases and compensate evicted tenants
  • Identify surplus provincially owned land that could be used to build affordable housing
  • Tax vacant homes to push owners to sell unoccupied units or rent them out
  • Align property tax for new multi-residential apartment buildings with other residential properties
  • Municipalities could be allowed flexibility to use property tax as a policy tool to influence development
  • Preventing Correction

    The move comes a week before Ontario unveils its budget, due April 27, and two days after the province’s Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the government recognizes that “now” is the time to address the issue. Toronto’s surging real-estate market has triggered debate over whether non-Canadian speculators are bidding up homes and fueling unsustainable record price gains, or if a lack of housing supply and inadequate urban planning is more to blame.

    Home prices in the Toronto region rose 6.2 percent in March, the biggest one-month gain on record, according to a benchmark price index by the Canadian Real Estate Association, and jumped almost 30 percent in the past 12 months. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz last week said there is no justification for such gains and warned of a price correction.

    People “should be able to rent or enter the real estate market without making great sacrifices or taking on a huge amount of risk,” Wynne said. “At the same time, we recognize the need to protect the significant investment homeowners have made. This plan balances those needs to stabilize the market and prevent a sharp correction that would be harmful to everyone.”

    –With assistance from Natalie Obiko Pearson and Scott Deveau

    ©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

    Go to Source

    No more Mr. Nice Trump: president goes after Canada on…

    WASHINGTON — Ever since Donald Trump was elected last fall, Canada’s government has been clinging to a strategy of low-drama, under-the-radar conversations about trade that keep investors calm in the choppy waters of a NAFTA renegotiation.

    The U.S. president has stopped co-operating.

    Trump delivered his strongest-ever broadside at America’s northern neighbour Thursday, piling atop his complaints earlier in the week about Canadian dairy and adding fresh gripes for good measure — this time about energy and lumber.

    “We can’t let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers,” Trump said in the Oval Office.

    “Included in there is lumber, timber and energy. We’re going to have to get to the negotiating table with Canada very, very quickly.”

    This is the same president who recently played down irritants with Canada — he said he just wanted to do a little trade tweaking. Suddenly, he’s tweaking Canada’s nose — twice in a week, with his second twist even more forceful than the first.

    Canadians will soon learn whether it’s just pre-negotiation bluster or a harbinger of hardball: Trump promised more details within a couple of weeks about his government’s plans for the North American Free Trade Agreement, with discussions likely to start later this year.

    He provided no rationale for his complaints.

    On energy, Canada provides the U.S. more than one-third of its oil imports — and does so under a stable, locked-in ratio guaranteed in NAFTA. On lumber, cheaper Canadian wood has reduced the cost of U.S. homes but also caused recurring legal spats with the U.S. industry that alleges product-dumping.

    On dairy, he offered a scintilla of detail.

    Trump made it obvious his complaints from earlier this week in Wisconsin were specifically about recent rule changes on milk classification, not on the longer-term issue of Canada’s supply-management system.

    “Canada, what they’ve done to our dairy farm workers, is a disgrace. It’s a disgrace,” he said. “Rules, regulations, different things have changed — and our farmers in Wisconsin and New York state are being put out of business.”

    It was a far cry from the tune Trump was singing in February.

    After meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he lauded the bilateral trade relationship, saying it required only tweaking. He told people he was pleased with the meeting, and even gave Trudeau a friendly shout-out in his prime-time speech to Congress.

    In an interview Thursday with Bloomberg, the prime minister sounded resigned to a future filled with presidential mood swings.

    Asked about Trump’s remarks earlier in the week about dairy, Trudeau acknowledged the likelihood that the message from the White House might occasionally switch from one day to the next.

    Indeed, he actually cast the topsy-turvy messaging as a positive thing. He called it an opportunity — a sign the president listens to the people he speaks with, and keeps an open mind to changing his views.

    “(Trump is) a little bit unlike many politicians,” the prime minister said, acknowledging the magnitude of his understatement amid laughter from the crowd.

    “As politicians we’re very much trained to say something and stick with it. Whereas he has shown if he says one thing and then actually hears good counter-arguments or good reasons why he should shift his position, he will take a different position if it’s a better one, if the arguments win him over.

    “I think there’s a challenge in that for electors, but there’s also an opportunity in that for people who engage with him.”

    Canada has ample reasons to engage.

    U.S. policy-makers have decisions to make that will affect the northern neighbour on multiple fronts including: NAFTA, softwood lumber, the possibility of a U.S. import tax, and Buy American rules.

    Already the uncertainty has caused some businesses to pause investments in Canada, according to the Bank of Canada.

    In an effort to soothe those concerns, the Canadian government repeatedly portrays NAFTA negotiations as no big deal, just another adjustment to an agreement adjusted several times already.

    While Trump’s “America First” attitude has yet to show up in any successful legislation, it has appeared in numerous executive actions, including the order he was signing in his office Thursday as he complained about Canada.

    That order sets a timeline for his administration to study possible tariffs on foreign steel. Ironically, one of Trump’s guests in his office for the signing ceremony was the head of the United Steelworkers union — Leo Gerard, a Canadian, born in Sudbury, Ont.

    Trump’s gripes about Canada came at the end of his remarks about steel. He prefaced them by saying, “I wasn’t going to do this,” then launched into complaints about Canadian dairy, wood, and energy and its impact on the U.S.

    The Canadian government responded with a statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

    On dairy, Freeland said, Canada buys five times more than it sells to the U.S.; on lumber, Canadian producers have always prevailed in past court cases, and a protracted dispute would only drive up U.S. housing costs.

    And as for oil, she described the stable supply from Canada as a job-creating lifeblood of the U.S. economy.

    “Our government will always defend Canada’s interests,” she said.

    “Any increase of trade barriers between our countries would significantly impact jobs in the United States, as well as in Canada.”

    Go to Source

    No more Mr. Nice Trump: president goes after Canada on wood, dairy, lumber

    WASHINGTON, United States of America – Ever since Donald Trump’s election last fall, the Canadian government has clung to a strategy of low-drama, under-the-radar conversations about trade to keep investors calm in the choppy waters of a NAFTA renegotiation.

    It has no plans to change course, no matter how hard the U.S. president tries to rock the boat.

    Officials perceive Trump’s sudden spurt of Canada-bashing as a calculated move, typical of his negotiating style, and designed to instill a little fear as NAFTA talks approach.

    “(We) are not fazed by it,” one such insider said Thursday.

    Trump delivered his strongest-ever broadside at America’s northern neighbour, piling atop his complaints earlier in the week about Canadian dairy and adding fresh gripes for good measure — this time about energy and lumber.

    “We can’t let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers,” Trump said in the Oval Office.

    “Included in there is lumber, timber and energy. We’re going to have to get to the negotiating table with Canada very, very quickly.”

    Trump’s sudden embrace of a harder line is a sharp reversal from a few weeks ago.

    This is the same president who recently played down irritants with Canada; he said he just wanted to do a little trade tweaking. Suddenly, he’s tweaking Canada’s nose — twice in a week, with his second twist even more forceful than the first.

    Canadians will soon learn whether it’s just pre-negotiation bluster or a harbinger of hardball: Trump promised more details within a couple of weeks about his government’s plans for the North American Free Trade Agreement, with discussions likely to start later this year.

    He provided no rationale for his complaints.

    On energy, Canada provides the U.S. more than one-third of its oil imports — and does so under a stable, locked-in ratio guaranteed in NAFTA. On lumber, cheaper Canadian wood has reduced the cost of U.S. homes but also caused recurring legal spats with the U.S. industry that alleges product-dumping.

    On dairy, he offered a scintilla of detail.

    Trump made it obvious his complaints from earlier this week in Wisconsin were specifically about recent rule changes on milk classification, not on the longer-term issue of Canada’s supply-management system.

    “Canada, what they’ve done to our dairy farm workers, is a disgrace. It’s a disgrace,” he said. “Rules, regulations, different things have changed — and our farmers in Wisconsin and New York state are being put out of business.”

    It was a far cry from the tune Trump was singing in February.

    After meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he lauded the bilateral trade relationship, saying it required only tweaking. He told people he was pleased with the meeting, and even gave Trudeau a friendly shout-out in his prime-time speech to Congress.

    In an interview Thursday with Bloomberg, the prime minister sounded resigned to a future filled with presidential mood swings.

    Asked about Trump’s remarks earlier in the week about dairy, Trudeau acknowledged the likelihood that the message from the White House might occasionally switch from one day to the next.

    Indeed, he actually cast the topsy-turvy messaging as a positive thing. He called it an opportunity — a sign the president listens to the people he speaks with, and keeps an open mind to changing his views.

    “(Trump is) a little bit unlike many politicians,” the prime minister said, acknowledging the magnitude of his understatement amid laughter from the crowd.

    “As politicians we’re very much trained to say something and stick with it. Whereas he has shown if he says one thing and then actually hears good counter-arguments or good reasons why he should shift his position, he will take a different position if it’s a better one, if the arguments win him over.

    “I think there’s a challenge in that for electors, but there’s also an opportunity in that for people who engage with him.”

    Canada has ample reasons to engage.

    U.S. policy-makers have decisions to make that will affect the northern neighbour on multiple fronts including: NAFTA, softwood lumber, the possibility of a U.S. import tax, and Buy American rules.

    Already the uncertainty has caused some businesses to pause investments in Canada, according to the Bank of Canada.

    In an effort to soothe those concerns, the Canadian government repeatedly portrays NAFTA negotiations as no big deal, just another adjustment to an agreement adjusted several times already.

    While Trump’s “America First” attitude has yet to show up in any successful legislation, it has appeared in numerous executive actions, including the order he was signing in his office Thursday as he complained about Canada.

    That order sets a timeline for his administration to study possible tariffs on foreign steel. Ironically, one of Trump’s guests in his office for the signing ceremony was the head of the United Steelworkers union — Leo Gerard, a Canadian, born in Sudbury, Ont.

    Trump’s gripes about Canada came at the end of his remarks about steel. He prefaced them by saying, “I wasn’t going to do this,” then launched into complaints about Canadian dairy, wood, and energy and its impact on the U.S.

    The Canadian government responded with a statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

    On dairy, Freeland said, Canada buys five times more than it sells to the U.S.; on lumber, Canadian producers have always prevailed in past court cases, and a protracted dispute would only drive up U.S. housing costs.

    And as for oil, she described the stable supply from Canada as a job-creating lifeblood of the U.S. economy.

    “Our government will always defend Canada’s interests,” she said.

    “Any increase of trade barriers between our countries would significantly impact jobs in the United States, as well as in Canada.”

    Go to Source

    Trump goes after Canada on wood, dairy, lumber

    WASHINGTON — Ever since Donald Trump was elected last fall, Canada’s government has been clinging to a strategy of low-drama, under-the-radar conversations about trade that keep investors calm in the choppy waters of a NAFTA renegotiation.

    The U.S. president has stopped co-operating.

    Trump delivered his strongest-ever broadside at America’s northern neighbour Thursday, piling atop his complaints earlier in the week about Canadian dairy and adding fresh gripes for good measure — this time about energy and lumber.

    “We can’t let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers,” Trump said in the Oval Office.

    “Included in there is lumber, timber and energy. We’re going to have to get to the negotiating table with Canada very, very quickly.”

    This is the same president who recently played down irritants with Canada — he said he just wanted to do a little trade tweaking. Suddenly, he’s tweaking Canada’s nose — twice in a week, with his second twist even more forceful than the first.

    Canadians will soon learn whether it’s just pre-negotiation bluster or a harbinger of hardball: Trump promised more details within a couple of weeks about his government’s plans for the North American Free Trade Agreement, with discussions likely to start later this year.

    He provided no rationale for his complaints.

    On energy, Canada provides the U.S. more than one-third of its oil imports — and does so under a stable, locked-in ratio guaranteed in NAFTA. On lumber, cheaper Canadian wood has reduced the cost of U.S. homes but also caused recurring legal spats with the U.S. industry that alleges product-dumping.

    On dairy, he offered a scintilla of detail.

    Trump made it obvious his complaints from earlier this week in Wisconsin were specifically about recent rule changes on milk classification, not on the longer-term issue of Canada’s supply-management system.

    “Canada, what they’ve done to our dairy farm workers, is a disgrace. It’s a disgrace,” he said. “Rules, regulations, different things have changed — and our farmers in Wisconsin and New York state are being put out of business.”

    It was a far cry from the tune Trump was singing in February.

    After meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he lauded the bilateral trade relationship, saying it required only tweaking. He told people he was pleased with the meeting, and even gave Trudeau a friendly shout-out in his prime-time speech to Congress.

    In an interview Thursday with Bloomberg, the prime minister sounded resigned to a future filled with presidential mood swings.

    Asked about Trump’s remarks earlier in the week about dairy, Trudeau acknowledged the likelihood that the message from the White House might occasionally switch from one day to the next.

    Indeed, he actually cast the topsy-turvy messaging as a positive thing. He called it an opportunity — a sign the president listens to the people he speaks with, and keeps an open mind to changing his views.

    “(Trump is) a little bit unlike many politicians,” the prime minister said, acknowledging the magnitude of his understatement amid laughter from the crowd.

    “As politicians we’re very much trained to say something and stick with it. Whereas he has shown if he says one thing and then actually hears good counter-arguments or good reasons why he should shift his position, he will take a different position if it’s a better one, if the arguments win him over.

    “I think there’s a challenge in that for electors, but there’s also an opportunity in that for people who engage with him.”

    Canada has ample reasons to engage.

    U.S. policy-makers have decisions to make that will affect the northern neighbour on multiple fronts including: NAFTA, softwood lumber, the possibility of a U.S. import tax, and Buy American rules.

    Already the uncertainty has caused some businesses to pause investments in Canada, according to the Bank of Canada.

    In an effort to soothe those concerns, the Canadian government repeatedly portrays NAFTA negotiations as no big deal, just another adjustment to an agreement adjusted several times already.

    While Trump’s “America First” attitude has yet to show up in any successful legislation, it has appeared in numerous executive actions, including the order he was signing in his office Thursday as he complained about Canada.

    That order sets a timeline for his administration to study possible tariffs on foreign steel. Ironically, one of Trump’s guests in his office for the signing ceremony was the head of the United Steelworkers union — Leo Gerard, a Canadian, born in Sudbury, Ont.

    Trump’s gripes about Canada came at the end of his remarks about steel. He prefaced them by saying, “I wasn’t going to do this,” then launched into complaints about Canadian dairy, wood, and energy and its impact on the U.S.

    The Canadian government responded with a statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

    On dairy, Freeland said, Canada buys five times more than it sells to the U.S.; on lumber, Canadian producers have always prevailed in past court cases, and a protracted dispute would only drive up U.S. housing costs.

    And as for oil, she described the stable supply from Canada as a job-creating lifeblood of the U.S. economy.

    “Our government will always defend Canada’s interests,” she said.

    “Any increase of trade barriers between our countries would significantly impact jobs in the United States, as well as in Canada.”

    Go to Source

    Trump goes after Canada on energy, dairy, lumber

    Ever since Donald Trump was elected last fall, Canada’s government has been clinging to a strategy of low-drama, under-the-radar conversations about trade that keep investors calm in the choppy waters of a NAFTA renegotiation.

    The U.S. president has stopped co-operating.

    Trump delivered his strongest-ever broadside at America’s northern neighbour Thursday, piling atop his complaints earlier in the week about Canadian dairy and adding fresh gripes for good measure – this time about energy and lumber.

    “We can’t let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers,” Trump said in the Oval Office.

    “Included in there is lumber, timber and energy. We’re going to have to get to the negotiating table with Canada very, very quickly.”

    This is the same president who recently played down irritants with Canada – he said he just wanted to do a little trade tweaking. Suddenly, he’s tweaking Canada’s nose – twice in a week, with his second twist even more forceful than the first.

    Canadians will soon learn whether it’s just pre-negotiation bluster or a harbinger of hardball: Trump promised more details within a couple of weeks about his government’s plans for the North American Free Trade Agreement, with discussions likely to start later this year.

    He provided no rationale for his complaints.

    On energy, Canada provides the U.S. more than one-third of its oil imports – and does so under a stable, locked-in ratio guaranteed in NAFTA. On lumber, cheaper Canadian wood has reduced the cost of U.S. homes but also caused recurring legal spats with the U.S. industry that alleges product-dumping.

    On dairy, he offered a scintilla of detail.

    Trump made it obvious his complaints from earlier this week in Wisconsin were specifically about recent rule changes on milk classification, not on the longer-term issue of Canada’s supply-management system.

    “Canada, what they’ve done to our dairy farm workers, is a disgrace. It’s a disgrace,” he said. “Rules, regulations, different things have changed – and our farmers in Wisconsin and New York state are being put out of business.”

    It was a far cry from the tune Trump was singing in February.

    After meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he lauded the bilateral trade relationship, saying it required only tweaking. He told people he was pleased with the meeting, and even gave Trudeau a friendly shout-out in his prime-time speech to Congress.

    In an interview Thursday with Bloomberg, the prime minister sounded resigned to a future filled with presidential mood swings.

    Asked about Trump’s remarks earlier in the week about dairy, Trudeau acknowledged the likelihood that the message from the White House might occasionally switch from one day to the next.

    Indeed, he actually cast the topsy-turvy messaging as a positive thing. He called it an opportunity – a sign the president listens to the people he speaks with, and keeps an open mind to changing his views.

    “(Trump is) a little bit unlike many politicians,” the prime minister said, acknowledging the magnitude of his understatement amid laughter from the crowd.

    “As politicians we’re very much trained to say something and stick with it. Whereas he has shown if he says one thing and then actually hears good counter-arguments or good reasons why he should shift his position, he will take a different position if it’s a better one, if the arguments win him over.

    “I think there’s a challenge in that for electors, but there’s also an opportunity in that for people who engage with him.”

    Canada has ample reasons to engage.

    U.S. policy-makers have decisions to make that will affect the northern neighbour on multiple fronts including: NAFTA, softwood lumber, the possibility of a U.S. import tax, and Buy American rules.

    Already the uncertainty has caused some businesses to pause investments in Canada, according to the Bank of Canada.

    In an effort to soothe those concerns, the Canadian government repeatedly portrays NAFTA negotiations as no big deal, just another adjustment to an agreement adjusted several times already.

    While Trump’s “America First” attitude has yet to show up in any successful legislation, it has appeared in numerous executive actions, including the order he was signing in his office Thursday as he complained about Canada.

    That order sets a timeline for his administration to study possible tariffs on foreign steel. Ironically, one of Trump’s guests in his office for the signing ceremony was the head of the United Steelworkers union – Leo Gerard, a Canadian, born in Sudbury, Ont.

    Trump’s gripes about Canada came at the end of his remarks about steel. He prefaced them by saying, “I wasn’t going to do this,” then launched into complaints about Canadian dairy, wood, and energy and its impact on the U.S.

    The Canadian government responded with a statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

    On dairy, Freeland said, Canada buys five times more than it sells to the U.S.; on lumber, Canadian producers have always prevailed in past court cases, and a protracted dispute would only drive up U.S. housing costs.

    And as for oil, she described the stable supply from Canada as a job-creating lifeblood of the U.S. economy.

    “Our government will always defend Canada’s interests,” she said.

    “Any increase of trade barriers between our countries would significantly impact jobs in the United States, as well as in Canada.”



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    CanadaNo more Mr. Nice Trump: president goes after Canada on wood, dairy, lumber

    WASHINGTON — Ever since Donald Trump was elected last fall, Canada’s government has been clinging to a strategy of low-drama, under-the-radar conversations about trade that keep investors calm in the choppy waters of a NAFTA renegotiation.

    The U.S. president has stopped co-operating.

    Trump delivered his strongest-ever broadside at America’s northern neighbour Thursday, piling atop his complaints earlier in the week about Canadian dairy and adding fresh gripes for good measure — this time about energy and lumber.

    “We can’t let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers,” Trump said in the Oval Office.

    “Included in there is lumber, timber and energy. We’re going to have to get to the negotiating table with Canada very, very quickly.”

    This is the same president who recently played down irritants with Canada — he said he just wanted to do a little trade tweaking. Suddenly, he’s tweaking Canada’s nose — twice in a week, with his second twist even more forceful than the first.

    Canadians will soon learn whether it’s just pre-negotiation bluster or a harbinger of hardball: Trump promised more details within a couple of weeks about his government’s plans for the North American Free Trade Agreement, with discussions likely to start later this year.

    He provided no rationale for his complaints.

    On energy, Canada provides the U.S. more than one-third of its oil imports — and does so under a stable, locked-in ratio guaranteed in NAFTA. On lumber, cheaper Canadian wood has reduced the cost of U.S. homes but also caused recurring legal spats with the U.S. industry that alleges product-dumping.

    On dairy, he offered a scintilla of detail.

    Trump made it obvious his complaints from earlier this week in Wisconsin were specifically about recent rule changes on milk classification, not on the longer-term issue of Canada’s supply-management system.

    “Canada, what they’ve done to our dairy farm workers, is a disgrace. It’s a disgrace,” he said. “Rules, regulations, different things have changed — and our farmers in Wisconsin and New York state are being put out of business.”

    It was a far cry from the tune Trump was singing in February.

    After meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he lauded the bilateral trade relationship, saying it required only tweaking. He told people he was pleased with the meeting, and even gave Trudeau a friendly shout-out in his prime-time speech to Congress.

    In an interview Thursday with Bloomberg, the prime minister sounded resigned to a future filled with presidential mood swings.

    Asked about Trump’s remarks earlier in the week about dairy, Trudeau acknowledged the likelihood that the message from the White House might occasionally switch from one day to the next.

    Indeed, he actually cast the topsy-turvy messaging as a positive thing. He called it an opportunity — a sign the president listens to the people he speaks with, and keeps an open mind to changing his views.

    “(Trump is) a little bit unlike many politicians,” the prime minister said, acknowledging the magnitude of his understatement amid laughter from the crowd.

    “As politicians we’re very much trained to say something and stick with it. Whereas he has shown if he says one thing and then actually hears good counter-arguments or good reasons why he should shift his position, he will take a different position if it’s a better one, if the arguments win him over.

    “I think there’s a challenge in that for electors, but there’s also an opportunity in that for people who engage with him.”

    Canada has ample reasons to engage.

    U.S. policy-makers have decisions to make that will affect the northern neighbour on multiple fronts including: NAFTA, softwood lumber, the possibility of a U.S. import tax, and Buy American rules.

    Already the uncertainty has caused some businesses to pause investments in Canada, according to the Bank of Canada.

    In an effort to soothe those concerns, the Canadian government repeatedly portrays NAFTA negotiations as no big deal, just another adjustment to an agreement adjusted several times already.

    While Trump’s “America First” attitude has yet to show up in any successful legislation, it has appeared in numerous executive actions, including the order he was signing in his office Thursday as he complained about Canada.

    That order sets a timeline for his administration to study possible tariffs on foreign steel. Ironically, one of Trump’s guests in his office for the signing ceremony was the head of the United Steelworkers union — Leo Gerard, a Canadian, born in Sudbury, Ont.

    Trump’s gripes about Canada came at the end of his remarks about steel. He prefaced them by saying, “I wasn’t going to do this,” then launched into complaints about Canadian dairy, wood, and energy and its impact on the U.S.

    The Canadian government responded with a statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

    On dairy, Freeland said, Canada buys five times more than it sells to the U.S.; on lumber, Canadian producers have always prevailed in past court cases, and a protracted dispute would only drive up U.S. housing costs.

    And as for oil, she described the stable supply from Canada as a job-creating lifeblood of the U.S. economy.

    “Our government will always defend Canada’s interests,” she said.

    “Any increase of trade barriers between our countries would significantly impact jobs in the United States, as well as in Canada.”

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