Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday June 1, 2018
Canada responds to U.S. steel, aluminum tariffs with ‘countermeasures’ of its own
Canada is imposing dollar-for-dollar tariff “countermeasures” on up to $16.6 billion worth of U.S. imports in response to the American decision to make good on its threat of similar tariffs against Canadian-made steel and aluminum.
The tariffs, which apply to a long list of U.S. products that includes everything from flat-rolled steel to playing cards and felt-tipped pens, will go into effect July 1, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told a news conference Thursday.
“This is $16.6 billion of retaliation,” Freeland said.
“This is the strongest trade action Canada has taken in the post-war era. This is a very strong response, it is a proportionate response, it is perfectly reciprocal. This is a very strong Canadian action in response to a very bad U.S. decision.”
Freeland made the announcement alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following word from the White House that the U.S. will slap tariffs on Canadian, Mexican and European Union steel and aluminium as of midnight Thursday night.
She called the U.S. measures illegal and counterproductive, and both she and Trudeau expressed how hard it is to imagine how Canada could ever be a national-security threat to an ally as close and important as the United States.
“That Canada could be considered a national-security threat to the United States is inconceivable,” said Trudeau, adding that the people of the U.S. are not Canada’s target , and that the federal government would far prefer that its hand not be forced.
Canada, Mexico and Europe had been exempted from import duties of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum when they were first imposed in March, but those exemptions will expire as scheduled on Friday.
“The government of Canada is confident that shared values, geography and common interests will ultimately overcome protectionism,” Trudeau said.
“We will always protect Canadian workers and Canadian interests.”
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed Thursday that the United States would end the temporary exemption on Canadian, Mexican and European Union steel and aluminum as of midnight, as scheduled.
That means that President Donald Trump will be face to face with a number of leaders who have taken retaliatory action against the U.S. when he makes his closely watched Canadian debut at the G7 next week in Quebec. (Source: CP)