Canada announces billions in retaliatory tariffs against US

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TORONTO — Canada announced billions of dollars in retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. on Friday in a tit-for-tat response to the Trump administration’s duties on Canadian steel and aluminum.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government released the final list of items that will be targeted beginning July 1. Some items will be subject to taxes of 10 or 25 per cent.

Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump spoke late Friday.

“As he has said in past conversations and in public, the Prime Minister conveyed that Canada has had no choice but to announce reciprocal countermeasures to the steel and aluminum tariffs that the United States imposed on June 1, 2018,” Trudeau’s office said in a statement.

“The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch on a way forward.”

It may have been their first direct conversation since Trump tweeted that Trudeau was “weak” and “dishonest” after leaving the G-7 meetings in Quebec earlier this month.

Trudeau also spoke to Mexican President Enrique Pena Neito and updated him on Canada’s response to the U.S tariffs.

The taxes on items including ketchup, lawn mowers and motor boats amount to $12.6 billion.

“We will not escalate and we will not back down,” Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said.

Freeland said they had no other choice and called the tariffs regrettable.

Many of the U.S. products were chosen for their political rather than economic impact. For example, Canada imports just $3 million worth of yogurt from the U.S. annually and most of it comes from one plant in Wisconsin, the home state of House Speaker Paul Ryan. The product will now be hit with a 10 per cent duty.

“This is a perfectly reciprocal action,” Freeland said. “It is a dollar for dollar response.”

Another product on the list is whiskey, which comes from Tennessee and Kentucky, the latter of which is the home state of Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell.

Freeland also said they are prepared if Trump escalates the trade war.

“It is absolutely imperative that common sense should prevail,” she said. “Having said that our approach from day one of the NAFTA negotiations has been to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.”

Trump has explained the steel and aluminum tariffs by saying imported metals threatened the United States’ national security — a justification that countries rarely use because it can be so easily abused. He is also threatening to impose another national security-based tariff on imported cars, trucks and auto parts. That threat could be a negotiating ploy to restart talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Freeland said there are no grounds for further U.S. tariffs in response to Canada’s actions.

Canadians are particularly worried about auto tariffs because the industry is critical to Canada’s economy. Freeland said such tariffs would be “absurd” because the North American auto industry is highly integrated and parts made in Canada often go to cars manufactured in the U.S. and then sold back to Canadians. “Any trade action is disruptive on both sides of the border,” Freeland said.

Freeland said an “intensive phase” of NAFTA renegotiations will resume quickly after Sunday’s elections in Mexico.

“I don’t think we’ll see any reaction from the Trump administration. They are prepared for this,” said Dan Ujczo, a trade lawyer in Columbus, Ohio. “Candidly, the Canadian retaliation is a drop in the bucket compared to the retaliation that we’re going to see from China and elsewhere.”

Ujczo doubts Trump will announce auto tariffs because that would be a “red line for the U.S. Congress” before the midterm election.

The U.S. Department of Commerce is holding hearings on auto tariffs in late July and will subsequently release an investigative report about whether they threaten national security.

“I don’t think Congress right now is expected to get engaged until after the midterm election. They’ve given the president a long leash and will continue to do so. The auto tariffs would disrupt that. It would change the calculus,” he said.

The Canadian government also announced $1.5 billion in subsidies for Canada’s steel and aluminum industries.

Rob Gillies, The Associated Press

23 COMMENTS

  1. The Worlds Bully is aiming at Canada, now is not the time for division in Canada now is the time to stick together,
    Good ideas Dont vacation in Trumps USA , Don’t take a connector flight that lands in Trumps USA , Don’t by anything from Trumps USA

    • Trump’s USA is hundreds of millions of good, hardworking Americans who could quickly dump on Canada. That wouldn’t be a nice thing. Canadians are naive and simple if they don’t think Americans can respond accordingly. Trust me, not a single American cares if you cancel your vacation here. You realize Americans don’t spend much time thinking about Canadian needs and temper tantrums, right!? Canada is always a junior league player when it comes to dealing with the uS. Thank goodness Harper is visiting the White House this weekend. He can talk at the American level. Instead of the kiddies at the kid’s table. Is Trudeau on Personal Day 27 now for the year? Guy has no common sense, strength or stamina.

  2. lol…cuz that’s the way to handle it instead of negotiations with Trump!! lol Trump tried to reason with him but Justin is a nationalist and prefers to be part of the elite who want to bring us to our knees.

    • SMFH. We HAVE been negotiating with the US on NAFTA. As has Mexico. Trump wants Canada to basically hand the US Canadian markets. How long do you think Canadian companies, etc. would last??? And WE are not in a trade surplus with the US…it is the other way around.Trump’s goal is NOT an equitable reworking of NAFTA but one in which there is only one winner…and it ain’t Canada!!

  3. Stupid move. Liberals think this will be a strategic move. Watch how America responds. Foolish Trudeau government. At the end of the day, Canada has market barriers and tariffs that will be dismantled.

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