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Donald Trump caused international shock Thursday when he proposed an aggressive tariff measure that could result in an all-out trade war between the United States and other countries, including Canada. The president wants to move to invoke a provision that allows the U.S. to put a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminum when there is a “threat to national security.” Canada is the United States’ largest supplier of both.

A hard stance on trade is nothing new to Donald Trump. In the year he’s been in office, countless press conferences and meetings have devolved into Trump bemoaning the state of America’s position in the world. In the past month, he’s specifically called out Canada twice for taking advantage of the U.S. when it comes to trade, despite the fact that the U.S. has a trade surplus with Canada.

“It is entirely inappropriate to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States. We will always stand up for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement Thursday, “Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers.”

Canada is currently seeking an exemption from the tariffs since, as Freeland points out, Canada is responsible for buying more than half of the steel exported by the United States to the tune of a $2 billion surplus for the U.S. A Canadian government official cited the “highly integrated nature” of the North American steel market as reasoning for the exemption. The government has also said they are pleading their case at “every possible level.”

Finance Minister Bill Morneau reported that he spoke with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin about the issue Thursday.

“With every new idea that comes from the United States, we have to reinforce our Canadian position,” Morneau said, ” In the case of tariffs on things like steel or aluminum, our point is that we are an important part of the value chain, we’re an important provider of those products and can be very important in making sure the United States industry has access to the kind of products they need.” Unlike Freeland, Morneau would not comment on if there would be a trade war triggered by Canadian retaliation.

If it’s a trade war brewing (and it certainly seems to be) Donald Trump doesn’t look to be shying away at all. He tweeted early Friday morning that “trade wars are good, and easy to win” when other countries “get cute” and stop trading with the U.S.

While the markets have responded negatively to Trump’s announcement and foreign governments were sent scrambling for answers and clarification, it seems Trump’s own government is just as confused by their commander in chief’s latest move. Like we have seen before, the president did not go through the proper channels to initiate this trade change so the administration has had to work quickly to make it real policy.

Trump has also been very vague about the details of what countries this new provision would cover (probably because that hasn’t even been decided yet) but some strategists are assuming the move is mostly directed at China. That would work well in Canada’s favour if it’s true, but considering the amount of time Trump has spent talking about how “smooth” their northern neighbours are in cheating the U.S., we probably shouldn’t get our hopes up for an exemption.