Paul Martin says trade wars will hurt Americans, common sense will eventually prevail

WATCH: How the U.S.- Canada trade war on tariffs is eroding our economic relationship

MONTREAL – All the economies involved in the ongoing trade war initiated by U.S. President Donald Trump will be hurt – and that’s precisely why it won’t last, according to former prime minister Paul Martin.

Common sense will eventually prevail as Americans begin to understand the negative consequences of disrupting the basis of the world economy, he said Wednesday.

“The fact is the American citizenry is going to suffer as a result of the position the Americans are taking and we’re already seeing this,” said Martin, who was in Montreal participating in a leadership forum.

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“This cannot continue. I believe that is the reason for optimism in the medium and long term, but there’s no doubt in the short term, we’re going to go through a difficult period and that’s what’s happening. But I’m confident that, in the end, common sense is going to work.”

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Trump has imposed tariffs on products from China, the European Union, Canada and other countries in response to what he says are unfair trade policies negatively affecting the American economy.

WATCH: Auto industry braces as U.S. threatens potential tariffs

Auto industry braces as U.S. threatens potential tariffs
Auto industry braces as U.S. threatens potential tariffs

The targeted countries responded by imposing retaliatory tariffs against U.S. exports.

Martin, who was prime minister from December 2003 to February 2006, stayed vague on the role he was playing during this difficult period for Canada.

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He said he has been in touch with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his American contacts, “away from the headlines, far from journalists.”

Martin says he expects Canada to play a leadership role toward finding an end to the current trade crisis.