Trump continues to blunder his way through foreign policy, and now it’s coming home to hurt American workers. In a move that alienates our long time ally, Trump has announced a 20% tariff on Canadian softwood imports. The new taxes would amount to roughly $1 billion, and those costs will be passed on to American consumers since softwood is primarily used to build houses.
And Americans aren’t happy. The National Association of Home Builders angrily explained that Trump’s decision will lead to a rise in the cost of housing for Americans. NAHB chairman Granger MacDonald broke it down:
Trump’s tariff will lose $500 million in U.S. workers’ wages.
It will also add $3,600 to the cost of a new single-family house.
“NAHB is deeply disappointed in this short-sighted action by the U.S. Department of Commerce that will ultimately do nothing to resolve issues causing the U.S./Canadian lumber trade dispute but will negatively harm American consumers and housing affordability,” MacDonald said.
Of course, Canada is less than pleased. A third of lumber used in the US is imported, and Canadian wood makes up 95% of those imports. The Canadian government has already announced it will staunchly oppose the measures and will pursue legal action.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross summed up Trump’s diplomacy:
“It has been a bad week for U.S./Canada trade relations.”
Trade isn’t a simple issue, but it affects American citizens of every strata. Trump’s ignorance on the subject is not only alarming, it’s going to hit us all in the wallets.
Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.