US, Canada trade war?

Canada moves ahead with $16.6 billion in tariffs on U.S. products as trade war heats up

Canada announced Friday, June 29, billions of dollars in retaliatory tariffs against the U.S.in response to the Trump administration's duties on Canadian steel and aluminum, saying Friday it won't back down.

"Canada has no choice but to retaliate in a measured, reciprocal, dollar-for-dollar response", Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday at a steel manufacturing facility flanked by workers. Some items will be subject to taxes of 10% or 25% amounting to $16.6 billion (Rs 1 lakh 13,600 crore) in tariffs.

This adds to Canada's $16.6 billion of retaliatory tariffs on steel, aluminum, and other products from the USA, which will come into effect on July 1, 2018.

On support for businesses and workers, Friday's federal package includes similar measures to those offered by Ottawa a year ago in response US duties on softwood lumber products from Canada.

The tariffs will go into effect this Sunday, Canada Day, in response to tariffs levied by the USA administration a month ago, on June first.

Trudeau reportedly reiterated his position to Trump himself in a phone call on Friday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, Industry Minister Navdeep Bains and Employment Minister Patty Hajdu unveiled Canada's finalized tariff plan during a visit to the Stelco plant in the industrial port city of Hamilton.

"Our approach is we will not escalate, but equally we will not back down", Freeland insisted. "The tariffs introduced by the United States on Canadian steel and aluminum are protectionist and illegal under WTO and NAFTA rules - the very rules that the United States helped to write", said Freeland in a statement. "We are perfectly within our rights to respond".

A month later the trade turmoil continues, however, with Trump and his officials taking aim at Trudeau personally, as well as other Canadian industries over what the US president calls unfair trade practices. That might change with the prospect of auto tariffs, though she stated that she hopes common sense would prevail.

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The two countries, with Mexico, are also locked in negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Alberta's steel and aluminum production is relatively small, with exports of $500 million worth of steel going to the US each year but there are concerns over how an escalating trade war could affect the province's energy and agricultural industries.

The tariffs have also triggered complaints against the U.S. to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Trump is also threatening to impose tariffs on Canadian autos, which would cause significantly more economic harm. The latter move is seen as a major threat to Canadian growth and to the North American auto sector, since USA carmakers rely heavily on supply chains that include its two neighbors.

Canada's steel and aluminum industries have made North American steel and aluminum more competitive around the world.

"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".

Freeland said an "intensive phase" of NAFTA renegotiations will resume quickly after Sunday's elections in Mexico.

"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.

The US is also exposed to thousands of potential job losses, as higher costs for steel and aluminium hurt US firms and trigger retaliation from Canada and elsewhere.

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