Now the U.S., Canada and more than a hundred other countries are negotiating a global digital services tax that would supersede those individual taxes. The U.S. tells Canada, ‘Hey, just wait for the global tax to be finalized. No need to jump ahead.”

But Christians says any global tax deal would have to be approved by all of those countries’ legislatures and the U.S. Congress isn’t known for lightning speed.

“Canada like a lot of countries is frustrated with the pace of international agreement and I think, wary that they may be waiting in vain for the U.S. to agree to something,” she said.

There are worries that tensions between the U.S. and Canada over the digital tax could turn into a trade war. Daniel Bunn, the President and CEO of the Tax Foundation, said the U.S. could hike tariffs on imports from Canada.


There are several disputes arising from the bilateral trade between the two nations. The United States placed Canada on its Special 301 Report intellectual property rights enforcement (although under the mildest category of "rebuke"). Other products from Canada under dispute include softwood lumber, beef, tomatoes, and other agricultural products.

The heightened border security as a result of the 2001 terrorist attacks has been an issue of concern for businesses in both countries. The issue has become less of a concern since the attacks with the development of new technology, registration, training, and fewer rules. However, a midpoint estimate of US$10.5 billion costs to businesses in delays and uncertain travel time have affected trade.[5]

One ongoing and complex trade issue involves the importation of cheaper prescription drugs from Canada to the United States. Due to the Canadian government's price controls as part of their Single-payer medical system, prices for prescription drugs can be a fraction of the price paid by consumers in the unregulated U.S. market. While laws in the United States have been passed at the national level against such sales, specific state and local governments have passed their own legislation to allow the trade to continue.[citation needed]

There are mentions of trade disputes between the two about lumber, drugs and whatnot, but I haven't found any mention of an actual trade war between the two countries. I don't know what definition the article uses, but I guess a trade war is an escalating tit-for-tat in trade like the one between China and the U.S. for example.

  • 2
    This question should probably be on History.SE.
    – Allure
    Dec 27, 2023 at 2:44

1 Answer 1


Lumber disputes are a recurring theme in US Canadian trade, running from waaaay before Trump.

  • US position: Canadian firms get public land cheap to grow trees

  • Canada position: US unfairly restricts imports of finished wood products, but doesn't mind importing raw logs where the value gets added by US firms.

Is it a trade war? Yes, if only on a specific product range. Which is the case with many trade wars anyway (you more often see "x tariffs on products a, b, c from country y" than "x tariffs on all of country y's products").

Inside the never-ending softwood lumber trade war between Canada and the U.S..

Canada’s softwood producers say they have paid more than $8-billion in lumber duties to the U.S. from 2017 to 2022.

Countervailing duties are levied in retaliation for alleged subsidies while anti-dumping duties are imposed for what the U.S. Department of Commerce views as lumber being sold below market value.

“The longevity of this lumber dispute defies gravity,” said Prof. Zhang, who wrote a 2007 book titled The Softwood Lumber War.

And it can get pretty ugly when it gets going, from suffering Canadian lumber firms to US builders not getting enough wood cheaply.

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