Canada announces final list of retaliatory tariffs

Charlene Craig
July 1, 2018

Tensions are relatively high between the USA and Canada as of late, however, after the Trump administration imposed tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, prompting Mr. Trudeau's government to introduce retaliatory tariffs scheduled to take effect on July 1.

Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited Stelco in Hamilton on Friday, June 29, 2018 where she met with employees in the cold rolling plant and announced the government's latest efforts in response to us tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. Some items will be subject to taxes of 10 or 25 percent.

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.

The trade restrictions between the Nafta allies might only serve to divert metal away from the U.S. market, considering the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, which allows Canadian producers to export primary aluminium to European countries cheaper, a trader told Metal Bulletin last month.

In a blow to Trump earlier this week, iconic American motorcycle company Harley-Davidson announced it would move some production overseas to avoid European Union tariffs imposed in response to U.S. steel and aluminum duties.

"I'm exhausted, like a lot of other Canadians, of the constant chirping and attacks of the president, whether it's against the prime minister, against our steel workers, aluminum, cars, dairy products", Mr. Watson said.

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"We are acting very much in sorrow, not in anger", said Freeland, stressing the closeness of the overall relationship.

"It is a reciprocal action". "We are perfectly within our rights to respond".

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

She said Ottawa had little choice but to take action despite the inherent drawbacks of the approach, which include higher costs of goods on each side of the border.

This occurred as threats to end the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) hang in the air, and negotiations on improving the treaty have stalled. "If you want to change it you have to make serious proposals, but you don't just walk away", he said.

"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".

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Ottawa also released details Friday of a financial aid package for industries caught in the crossfire - and it includes up to $2 billion in fresh funding and support for workers in Canada's steel, aluminum and manufacturing sectors.

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

The latter move is seen as a major threat to Canadian growth and to the North American auto sector, since United States carmakers rely heavily on supply chains that include its two neighbours.

The Canadian Steel Producers Association (CSPA) is the national voice of Canada's $15 billion primary steel production industry.

"Having them engaged and informed as far as the value of trade from an Alberta point of view with their local state helps equip them when they're in Washington to talk to their federal government about the impacts that this has on individual communities and workers", he said. "Candidly, the Canadian retaliation is a drop in the bucket compared to the retaliation that we're going to see from China and elsewhere".

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