Trump and Trudeau sling insults as trade war looms

U.S. and Canadian leaders continue feud with both tariffs and words after G7

The war of words first began when the two North American leaders met at the G-7 summit earlier this June. (The White House/Flickr)

Relations between President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau continue to grow sour with Trump now claiming that Trudeau’s stance on trade discussions was a “mistake” that would cost Canada “a lot of money.”

This marks a continuation of the continuing feud that commenced at the G-7 summit where Trump and Trudeau engaged in a war of words discussing the tariffs being implemented.

The tariffs were imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum, with the reasoning being they were due to “national security reasons.”

The conflict gained traction when Trudeau promised to hit back with retaliatory measures. This then lead to Trump claiming that Trudeau was “meek and mild” and one of Trump’s top advisers saying there was a “special place in hell” for Trudeau.

The back-and-forth may just appear to be petty jabs among the two leaders, but there could be very real economic consequences. The likelihood of a trade war between the U.S. and Canada appears to be on the rise and both sides are mulling more trade barriers.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Canada was the top export destination for 32 states in 2016 and currently, in 2018, Canada is also the top export destination for U.S. goods, with over $98 billion worth of goods going over the border.

However, problems continued with Trump then threatening to retaliate against Canadian lumber in addition to the existing tariffs.

“What are we doing here? The fact is that Canada has a 275 percent tariff on dairy products,” Trump said. “Little thing called dairy product. Their lumber is a disaster with us. I say, ‘Why aren’t we using our own lumber?’”

Trudeau replied to these comments by pointing to the to the potential damage to the U.S.

“I have a hard time accepting that any leader might do the kind of damage to his own auto industry that would happen if you were to bring in such a tariff on Canadian auto manufacturers given the integration of the parts supply chains, of the auto supply chains through the Canada-U.S. border,” Trudeau said.

The two will be meeting at the NATO Summit in Brussels for the first time since the altercation. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan signaled that they were prepared for the debate of the orthodoxy of the western military alliance’s non-binding spending targets.