There is a new twist in the current Canada-US trade war, which will have repercussions for the economies of both countries. The BC government is responding now to the U.S. by pushing through a ban on US thermal coal, which comes after the United States slapped a 20% tariff on Canadian softwood lumber. The BC ban would only be for thermal coal, and will not include steel-making coal.
This ban will have a significant impact, because 6.2 million metric tons of American thermal coal had gone through the Vancouver port in 2016, and Donald Trump has already vowed to resurrect the American coal industry. The main issue for this ban is politics, and it is yet to be seen, who will be the real winner after this trade war.
The main reason for calling on this ban is to show the United States that Canada will not be pushed into a corner, and there are going to be repercussions for every move that U.S makes in this trade war. The ban on U.S. thermal coal is supported by BC Premier Christy Clark, who is currently locked in a tight election race, and looking for any edge to win. Clark knows that taking a stand against Trump will show that she is in command as Premier, and has the best interests of BC residents. This seems to be a calculated political move that is designed to show strength and help Christy get the edge she needs in coming election.
Clark has formally asked the federal government to impose the ban, and has even claimed that she will impose it herself if the government doesn’t support it. If the ban did come into effect, it will most likely be challenged by the United States in court.