Canada to Retaliate Against U.S. Tariffs
Trump, during a speech on August 6 at a Whirlpool manufacturing plant in Ohio, announced that he had signed a proclamation re-imposing 10% tariffs on aluminum imports from Canada that had been lifted more than a year earlier. The president complained that Canada was putting American workers in the aluminum industry at a disadvantage.
“In response to the American tariffs, Canada intends to swiftly impose dollar-for-dollar countermeasures,” Freeland said, calling the tariffs “unwarranted and unacceptable.” Canada’s new duties on U.S. imports, she said, will total $3.6 billion Canadian dollars ($2.7 billion).
The Trump administration originally imposed tariffs on a range of Canadian aluminum and steel in the summer of 2018, sparking a tense trade war. The United States agreed to lift the tariffs in May 2019 in order to pave the way for congressional agreement to a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada.
The text of Trump’s proclamation says that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross informed Trump that Canadian aluminum imports “increased substantially” in the months after the decision to lift the tariffs in mid-2019. That so-called surge “threatens to harm domestic aluminum production and capacity utilization,” the proclamation says.
Freeland on Friday lambasted that assertion, arguing that the tariffs will hurt American consumers already suffering from the economic devastation inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“These tariffs are unnecessary, unwarranted and entirely unacceptable,” she added. “They should not be imposed. Let me be clear: Canadian aluminum is in no way a threat to U.S. national security, which remains the ostensible reason for these tariffs, and that is a ludicrous notion.”
Freeland also noted that the new tariffs comes just over a month after the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement – the Trump-backed trade pact that replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA – went into effect. “Now is the time to advance North American economic competitiveness, not to hinder it,” she said.