Canada Fires Back at US Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

March 2, 2018 Updated: March 2, 2018

Canadian foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland responded yesterday to the White House’s announcement of a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum.

“As a key NORAD and NATO ally, and as the number one customer of American steel, Canada would view any trade restrictions on Canadian steel and aluminum as absolutely unacceptable,” Freeland said in a press release yesterday.

“Any restrictions would harm workers, the industry and manufacturers on both sides of the border. The steel and aluminum industry is highly integrated and supports critical North American manufacturing supply chains. The Canadian government will continue to make this point directly with the American administration at all levels,” Freeland said.

At a meeting at the White House yesterday with leaders of the steel industry, U.S. President Donald Trump decried the treatment of America’s steel industry due to bad trade deals and policy.

With regard to big aluminum companies in the United States, Trump said, “They’ve been horribly treated by other countries.” Canadian officials are seeking to exempt Canada from the new trade restrictions, which are planned to be finalized next week.

In a statement, the United Steelworkers International president Leo W. Gerard also makes the case that Canada should be excluded from the tariffs.

“The evidence confirms that tariffs and punitive actions are warranted against ‘bad actor’ countries that engage in illegal dumping and unfair trade practices, including China, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Korea, Russia, Turkey and Vietnam,” Gerard writes.

“Canada is not the problem,” added Gerard. United Steelworkers is the largest private sector union in North America and has more than 225,000 Canadian members.

According to Trump, the new tariffs on steel and aluminum will be in effect “for a long period of time.”

“Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers,” Freeland said.

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