Published: Sun, July 01, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Canadians Rally Around Retaliatory Tariffs Aimed At The US

Canadians Rally Around Retaliatory Tariffs Aimed At The US

Canada struck back at the Trump administration on Friday over United States steel and aluminium tariffs, vowing to impose punitive measures on C$16.6 billion (S$17.07 billion) worth of American goods until Washington relents.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks at a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 31, 2018.

The final list of goods will hit a number of steel products with 25% tariffs, aluminium products with 10% tariffs and a range of other United States goods, including ketchup, pizza, boats and whiskey - also with 10% tariffs.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks on June 9 at the conclusion of the G7 summit in La Malbaie, Quebec.

Starting July 1, our federal government is imposing tariffs on $16.6 billion worth of American goods imported into Canada.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland unveiled the details - including a finished list of the targeted US products - during a news conference at a steel factory in Hamilton.

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

"The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch on a way forward", it said.

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

After the European Union unveiled similar retaliatory tariffs, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer earlier this week lashed out calling them groundless and illegal.

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

"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. She also reiterated the USA measures are "illegal" and America has a trade surplus with Canada on iron and steel.

Many of the USA products were chosen for their political rather than economic impact. It's not known how much of that money will come to Alberta (our steel exports to the United States are worth about $500 million compared to about $7 billion for all of Canada).

Those, as well as the steel and aluminum tariffs, are based on accusations that the import of foreign goods in those industries poses a "national security threat" to the American sectors, despite the reality that Canadian and American manufacturing chains are closely interconnected.

"It is a reciprocal action".

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.

"We will not escalate and we will not back down", she added, while urging Washington to reconsider its attack on the Canadian economy, and noting that the response was Ottawa's toughest trade action since World War II. Speaking in front of a group of Stelco workers, she said she is confident common sense will prevail and that an "intensive phase" of talks in the renegotiation of the North-American free-trade agreement (NAFTA) will start quickly after Sunday's election in Mexico.

USA officials have also linked the tariffs to slow progress in talks to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump says is a disaster and must be changed.

The Trump administration has said the tariffs are necessary to protect the steel and aluminium industries, arguing that their success is vital to America's national security.

At the end of May, Freeland and Trudeau announced their intentions to impose dollar-for-dollar tariffs on some us products and sought feedback.

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