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Canada to Trump on trade: ‘Not an accident that hockey is our national sport'

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“When it comes to defending Canada’s economic interests, we’re going to play hard,” Chrystia Freeland told CNN Tuesday.

“We’re nice guys: Politeness is something we believe is a national virtue, but it’s not an accident that hockey is our national sport.”

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

“No,” he told reporters when asked if he fears that scenario. 

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. 

Trump has also focused criticism on the dairy market and the North American Free Trade Agreement, sparking concerns of a broader trade conflict.

Canada is America’s second-largest trading partner, with $575 billion in two-way goods exchanged in 2015.

The U.S. had a $15 billion trade deficit with Canada in 2015, according to figures compiled by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.