| OTTAWA, April 25
OTTAWA, April 25 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
vowed to stand up for Canadian interests on Tuesday after the
U.S. imposed new tariffs on softwood lumber and trade tensions
between the two countries escalated, sending the Canadian dollar
to a 14-month low.
While the currency fell, shares in Canadian lumber companies
rose as the level of the new tariffs came in at the low end of
what investors were expecting.
The United States will impose preliminary anti-subsidy
duties averaging 20 percent on imports of Canadian softwood
lumber, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Monday,
escalating a long-running trade dispute between the two
The move, which affects some $5.66 billion worth of imports
of the construction material, sets a tense tone as the two
countries and Mexico prepare to renegotiate the 23-year-old
North American Free Trade Agreement.
Speaking to a technology company in Ontario, Trudeau said he
would defend the national interest, and cabinet colleagues were
poised to speak to the media to outline Canada's possible
responses to the tariffs later in the day.
"Standing up for Canada's interests is what my job is,
whether it's softwood or software," Trudeau said, prompting
applause and cheers.
"You cannot thicken this border without hurting people on
both sides of 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."
The dispute sideswiped the Canadian currency, reflecting the
importance of lumber to the nation's economy. At 9:22 a.m. ET
(1322 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.3594
to the greenback, or 73.56 U.S. cents, weaker than Monday's
close of C$1.3516, or 73.99 U.S. cents.
Shares in West Fraser Timber Co, which would pay
the highest duty rate of the affected companies, rose 5.6
percent to C$59.50 and Canfor Corp stock gained 3.5
percent to C$18.82.
The average 20 percent anti-subsidy duties announced late on
Monday compared to a 20-30 percent range expected by RBC equity
Softwood lumber joins dairy as a key target for U.S.
President Donald Trump, who tweeted a new attack on Canada's
supply management system for dairy on Tuesday. Last week the
president called Canada's dairy protections "unfair."
"Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin
and other border states very difficult. We will not stand for
this. Watch!" Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.
(Additional reporting by Leah Schnurr in Ottawa and Alastair
Sharp and Fergal Smith in Toronto; Writing by Andrea Hopkins;
Editing by Andrea Ricci)