Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated he would consider restricting U.S. coal shipments through the country’s ports in the wake of tariffs imposed on Canadian lumber.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the province of British Columbia asked the Canadian government to ban shipments of U.S. coal to Asian markets, which are frequently shipped from Canadian ports to avoid crowded domestic facilities.
Trudeau reportedly responded that he would "seriously and carefully" review the request from British Columbia Premier Christy Clark, which came as Clark's B.C. Liberal party and counterparts the B.C. New Democrats were locked in a tight race heading into Tuesday's provincial election.
Trump administration officials said that the 20 percent softwood lumber tariff responded to unfair government subsidies, but it was imposed after the president criticized Canadian dairy pricing changes that affected U.S. dairy farmers.
Canadian officials disputed the findings and vowed to "vigorously defend" its lumber industry, and the British Columbia Lumber Trade Council welcomed the government's consideration of "all possible options."
Trudeau, however, also warned of the economic consequences of a "thickening" border between the two nations.
The shipping industry in British Columbia, meanwhile, opposed the potential ban on coal shipments. The Port of Vancouver handled an estimated 6.2 million metric tons of thermal coal from the U.S. last year.
“We hope that our leaders will consider the best interest of all Canadians and not punish Canadian companies and workers by putting one industry ahead of another,” coal terminal Westshore Terminals LP wrote to Trudeau.