- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke Tuesday, according to the White House, discussing trade disputes that are testing the close relationship between their countries.

For the Trump administration, the disputes over lumber and dairy products underscored his push to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Still, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said he did not think the disputes would injure the friendly relationship between Mr. Trump and Mr. Trudeau, who visited the White House in February.

“First of all, this was not a presidential decision to do the softwood lumber. This was a decision that arose from a trade case that was under way, so it was a normal decision,” said Mr. Ross. “So I don’t think it has anything to do with the personal relationship between Mr. Trudeau and the president.”

The Trump administration slapped a punitive tariff of up to 24 percent on Canadian softwood lumber Monday over allegations that government subsidies in some provinces undercut U.S. lumber prices.

The move followed a breakdown in U.S.-Canada talks about ending a Canadian tariff on U.S. dairy products.

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