Trump says he doesn't fear trade war with Canada

Trump says he doesn't fear trade war with Canada
© Greg Nash

President Trump on Tuesday downplayed concerns about a trade war with Canada after his administration slapped tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber. 

“No,” the president told reporters when asked if he fears a trade war. “They have a tremendous surplus with the United States. Whenever they have a surplus, I have no fear.”

Trump’s decision to impose tariffs of as much as 24 percent on Canadian softwood imports ignited a long-simmering dispute between the two close trading partners. 

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Combined with his saber-rattling on the Canadian dairy market and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it has sparked concerns about a broader trade conflict that could have significant effects on the U.S. economy. 

Canada is the second-largest U.S. trading partner, with $575 billion in two-way goods exchanged in 2015. 

Despite Trump’s comments, the trade relationship is relatively balanced. The U.S. only had a $15 billion trade deficit with Canada in 2015, according to figures compiled by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.