Canada announces billions in retaliatory tariffs, says it will not back down

30 June, 2018, 16:03 | Author: Salvatore Jensen
  • Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau

On March 1, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would be imposing a 25 percent on all imports of steel into the United States, and a 10 percent tariff on all aluminum imports.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government on Friday released the final list of items including ketchup, lawn mowers and motor boats, that will be targeted from July 1 with some subjected to taxes of 10 or 25 per cent amounting to $US12.6 billion ($A17 billion).

The final retaliatory tariff list spells out more than 100 steel products that are being hit with a 25 per cent surtax including bars, rods, and flat-rolled products; 19 aluminum products including doors, nuts and bolts, and scouring pads; and over 70 other USA goods that will have a 10 per cent surtax placed on them.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said earlier this month the tariffs were designed in part to stop cheap steel entering the United States via Canada and other countries.

Canada and Mexico initially were exempted from the U.S. metals tariffs - as was the European Union - but Trump allowed the duties to take effect June 1 after talks stalled to revamp the 1994 trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Chrystia Freeland, Canada's foreign minister, said Friday that Ottawa will slap tariffs on $12.6 billion of USA exports starting on Sunday.

"We will not escalate and we will not back down", Freeland said Friday.

"It is a reciprocal action".

Freeland said there are no grounds for further US tariffs in response to Canada's actions. "We are perfectly within our rights to respond". "Working in partnership with industry and business associations, we will provide capacity support to assist Canadian companies tap into the new markets now uniquely open to them in Europe, Asia and around the world".

The two countries, with Mexico, are also locked in negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement.




He's already threatened to escalate the trade war by imposing a ruinous tariff on the Canadian auto industry that could cost thousands of jobs.

"It is with regret that we take these countermeasures, but the USA tariffs leave Canada no choice but to defend our industries, our workers and our communities, and we will remain firm in doing so". That threat could be a negotiating ploy to restart talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement. For example, Canada imports just $3 million worth of yoghurt from the U.S. annually and most of it comes from one plant in Wisconsin, the home state of House Speaker Paul Ryan. "If you want to change it you have to make serious proposals, but you don't just walk away", he said. A WTO official said Friday that the organisation has not heard from the USA about reconsidering its membership.

It's not known how much of that money will come to Alberta (our steel exports to the United States are worth about $500 million compared to about $7 billion for all of Canada).

While opposition parties have so far largely backed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for standing up to Trump, their support could be tested once the USA tariffs start to bite.

Business executives warned lawmakers this week that escalation into an all-out trade war would be devastating to the Canadian economy, which sends about 75 percent of its exports to the United States.

"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".

"Faced with these unjustified tariffs, the United States will take all necessary actions under both USA law and global rules to protect its interests", he said in the statement.

Ohio-based trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he believes there's a significant chance Trump will introduce auto tariffs to some degree, although he predicted they could target the European Union rather than Canada.

Ms Freeland said the discussions continue and will heat up again after the Mexican election on Sunday.

Bains, the economic development minister, said the support is aimed at helping firms adjust to the hard circumstances while enabling them to continue to innovate along the way.

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