World Economy

Canada Retaliates Over Trump Tariffs

Canada Retaliates Over Trump TariffsCanada Retaliates Over Trump Tariffs

Canada struck back at the Trump administration over US 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.

The announcement by Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland marks a new low in ties between the neighbors and trading partners which have become increasingly strained since US President Donald Trump took power in January 2017, Reuters reported.

The Canadian tariffs will come into effect on July 1 and largely target US steel and aluminum products, but also foodstuffs such as coffee, ketchup, orange juice and other products, according to a list by the Department of Finance.

“Canada has to choice but to retaliate with a measured, reciprocal dollar-for-dollar response. That is what we are doing,” she said. “We will not escalate and we will not back down,” Freeland told reporters at a Stelco Holdings Inc plant in the Ontario steel city of Hamilton.

Officials say the measures are designed in part to pressure Trump by focusing on goods from states where his political allies hold sway. Canadian duties will leave dents on Democratic states, like New York, Washington and Illinois.

Canada’s Liberal party government said last month it would retaliate after Trump moved against steel and aluminum imports from Canada and other nations, citing security grounds.

“We are acting very much in sorrow, not in anger,” said Freeland, stressing the closeness of the overall relationship. Bilateral trade is worth around C$2 billion ($1.52 billion) a day.

Freeland said she had already spoken to US trade representative Robert Lighthizer six times this week and was prepared to meet at any time to tackle the issue.

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.

The Trump administration is studying whether to put tariffs on Canadian autos, which economists say would help plunge the economy into a recession. Freeland called the idea “absolutely absurd”.

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

US 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.



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