Canada announces retaliatory tariffs worth $12.6 billion against US

01 July, 2018, 16:44 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Conservative MP Maxime Bernier talks with media in Ottawa on Wednesday

Today the Government of Canada announced that in direct, measured and proportional response to us tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, reciprocal surtaxes on $16.6 billion of imports of steel, aluminum and other products from the United States will come into effect July 1, 2018.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government released the final list of items that will be targeted from July 1. Starting on July 1 most of the items will be taxed at rates of 10 percent or 25 percent. Canada buys more American steel than any other country in the world, accounting for 50 per cent of US exports. The company did not comment on how many jobs would be shifted away from the US, but said that it would take between nine and 18 months to move production away from Wisconsin.

"The counter-tariff and community support measures announced today by the federal government is a good first step that will need to be expanded if the trade dispute continues beyond the short-term", Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers national director, said in a statement.

Trump and Trudeau have clashed recently, with the president warning Canada will pay for it.

"We will not escalate, and we will not back down", Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland was quoted as saying by CNBC, adding the Canadian government was working closely with Mexico and the European Union. "This is a perfectly reciprocal action".

"The tariffs introduced by the United States on Canadian steel and aluminum are protectionist and illegal under WTO and NAFTA rules, the very rules that the United States helped to write", Freeland said.

Canada's foreign affairs minister said she has spoken to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer six times this week and told him she was willing to meet face-to-face whenever convenient.

"There is and will be an impact, absolutely, to not only Canadian industry, but American industry and also consumers", Bilous said. "If you want to change it you have to make serious proposals, but you don't just walk away", he said. "It is important that these middle class Canadian workers be supported while we all work to restore fair trade in North American steel".

Last week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressed concerns about the world's overproduction and overcapacity of steel, saying the U.S. tariffs against Canada and other allies are created to force them into action.

Several countries, including Canada, are challenging that rationale with complaints against the United States to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

But before we pop open a cold Canadian beer on Sunday to celebrate standing up to Trump, keep in mind this trade war, even if it doesn't escalate further, will raise the price of products on both sides of the border.

Canada's steel and aluminum industries have made North American steel and aluminum more competitive around the world.

Potential tariffs of 20 percent on autos have also been threatened by the president.

"I think that prediction has been borne out and I think all of us anticipate there will be some moments of drama in the future".

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland gestures during a joint news conference on the closing of the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City, Mexico, March 5, 2018.

Ottawa also unveiled an aid package for affected industries and workers worth up to C$2 billion, consisting mainly of up to C$1.7 billion in commercial financing and insurance for firms in the steel and aluminum sectors and related industries. "Candidly, the Canadian retaliation is a drop in the bucket compared to the retaliation that we're going to see from China and elsewhere".



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