Canadians Rally Around Retaliatory Tariffs Aimed At The U.S.

Canadians Rally Around Retaliatory Tariffs Aimed At The U.S.

Canada struck back at the Trump administration over USA steel and aluminum tariffs on Friday, vowing to impose punitive measures on C$16.6 billion ($12.63 billion) worth of American goods until Washington relents.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland announced final measures Friday that take effect on Canada's July 1 national holiday.

Items as varied as ketchup, whiskey and lawn mowers will be taxed upon entry from the U.S. The list adds up to more than $12 billion of U.S. goods, and represents a similar dollar value of goods to the tariffs placed by President Trump on imports from our northern neighbor.

On support for businesses and workers, Friday's federal package includes similar measures to those offered by Ottawa past year in response USA duties on softwood lumber products from Canada.

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.

Trudeau also spoke by phone with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico.

FILE PHOTO: Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland delivers remarks after receiving the Diplomat of the Year award at the Foreign Policy annual Awards Dinner in Washington, U.S., June 13, 2018. 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.

"This is a perfectly reciprocal action", Freeland said.

Freeland said she had already spoken to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer six times this week and was prepared to meet at any time to tackle the issue.

Freeland said there was no reason for the Trump administration to escalate the trade dispute and Canada would not back down in the face of American violations of WTO and NAFTA trade rules. Finance Minister Bill Morneau said his government will "absolutely" stand behind companies affected by metal tariffs. She also filed a separate complaint under the North American Free Trade Agreement, arguing the the USA tariffs are "completely unacceptable" and "illegal". "It would change the calculus", he said.

Alberta's steel and aluminum production is relatively small, with exports of $500 million worth of steel going to the USA each year but there are concerns over how an escalating trade war could affect the province's energy and agricultural industries. A United States withdrawal also would put United States exporters at risk, as other WTO members could raise tariffs on American imports.

Canadian steel is used in American tanks, and its aluminum goes into US planes.

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

Trump has also threatened to slap a 25 per cent tariff on auto imports from Canada and ordered an investigation last month into whether such a move is warranted. "It is important that these middle class Canadian workers be supported while we all work to restore fair trade in North American steel".

The Canadian government also announced that it would make available upward of $2 billion in assistance to its steel and aluminum companies.

"I don't think we'll see any reaction from the Trump administration".

"The prime minister and the government have been very diligent about meeting with groups that could be impacted by trade", he says, "reassuring them that in the event that there is a major impact, there will be either trade actions or other types of relief provided".

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