Kevin Libin: Trudeau stumbled into a trade war. That isn’t all Trump’s fault

Largely missed in the sudden and furious reaction to Trump’s salty tweets Sunday was a report by CBC’s Rob Russo on The National that night, which clarifies just how wonderfully it appears trade talks were going between Canada and the U.S. That is, until Trudeau held his post-G7 press conference to remind Trump that Canada would “not be pushed around” by any American president and called the president’s treatment of Canada “kind of insulting.”

Trudeau wasn’t wrong, of course, but his comments were clearly ill-timed. Russo reported that Trump had offered a major giveaway to Trudeau in a NAFTA meeting on the G7 sidelines, finally agreeing to waive his longstanding demand for a sunset clause, the automatic expiry of the deal if it wasn’t renewed every five years, which had been one of the last sticking points. Russo said that Trump’s sudden concession was “surprising (to) his own chief negotiator, according to people who were there, and people (there) think that it’s great.” At the end of the summit, with a NAFTA deal perhaps within grasp, the celebrating was underway. Then came the news conference.

Full column: Financial Post