Arguing that a trade war with Canada is unlikely, Charles Krauthammer said that feuding with our neighbor to the north would be “gratuitous,” and Trump is most likely trying to get them to loosen their own tariffs:
That is the problem with protectionism. If we were to prevail upon the Chinese to stop dumping steel, and we were to raise tariffs on steel — this has happened in the past — that’s great for steelworkers, but it’s not so good if you are making autos or other stuff out of steel. The costs are passed on and they become less competitive. So Juan is right. If you put a tariff on the lumber, homes are going to be a little more expensive.
I think after having insulted Australia, South Korea, Japan, Mexico, and just about every one of our friends, it is about time we hit Canada. I still haven’t gotten over the War of 1812, so I have a personal animus here.
Look, I think this is Trump proclaiming a principle that we are going to be really tough on trade because the tariffs on our dairy products are something like 200-300 percent, it’s really outrageous. And what he is doing, he is bargaining. This is a real-estate guy saying, “Here is my opening bid. I threaten you with tariffs on lumber, you show us some give on dairy.” I think they will likely get this done. I can’t imagine that we are going to start this administration with a trade war with Canada. I could understand China, could understand other people, but this is our closest ally in the world, and in a way, it is gratuitous.