It’s been a busy, and very public, week for Canada-US trade relations.
So much so that yesterday the leaders of the two countries got on the phone together to discuss the issues of softwood lumber and dairy products.
The need for such a call comes after multiple public attacks from Trump on NAFTA that questioned the fairness of Canada-US trade relations over the past week, followed by a preliminary duties tariff of up to 24% slapped onto Canadian softwood lumber introduced yesterday. The announcement of the tariff resulted in the Loonie falling to a 14-month low.
Trump then sent out a final, unprovoked tweet yesterday blaming Canadian involvement for the current state of Wisconsin dairy farmers before the two leaders spoke on the phone.
But what was said on that phone call is hard to determine as the summaries given out by each government could not be more different. Canada’s is in-depth and thorough, laying out the issues discussed and using strong language to assert its stance on the topics. The White House’s release is 41-words long.
In fact, the disparity between the two readouts of the call were placed next to each other in a tweet from senior news editor and writer for NBC Nightly News, Bradd Jaffy, that has received more than 12K retweets since being posted last night:
Left: Prime Minister’s office readout of Trudeau’s phone call with Trump
Right: White House readout of the very same call
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) April 26, 2017
Here is the White House’s full statement:
President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke today. The two leaders discussed dairy trade in Wisconsin, New York State, and various other places. They also discussed lumber coming into the United States. It was a very amicable call.
You can read PMO’s full statement below:
The Prime Minister and the President reaffirmed the importance of the mutually-beneficial Canada-US trade relationship. On the issue of softwood lumber, the Prime Minister refuted the baseless allegations by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the decision to impose unfair duties. The Prime Minister stressed that the Government of Canada will vigorously defend the interests of the Canadian softwood lumber industry, as we have successfully done in all past lumber disputes with the U.S. The two leaders agreed on the importance of reaching a negotiated agreement, recognizing the integrated nature of the industry between Canada and the United States.
The Prime Minister and the President also discussed Canada-US trade in dairy products, trade which heavily favours the US: Canada imports over $550 million of dairy products from the US, but exports just over $110 million to the US. The Prime Minister reaffirmed that Canada upholds its international trade obligations, including the North American Free Trade Agreement, under which the US continues to have duty-free and quota-free access for milk protein substances, including diafiltered milk, and that Canada would continue to defend its interests.
The Prime Minister and the President agreed to continue their dialogue on these important bilateral issues.