Media Moves

Coverage: Canada slams tariffs as “insulting”

June 4, 2018

Posted by Chris Roush

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized the White House rationale for imposing punitive trade tariffs on Canada as “insulting and unacceptable,” the latest leader to warn of a looming trade war with the United States.

Laura King of the Los Angeles Times had the news:

The complaint was a dramatic departure from the conciliatory approach Trudeau has shown to President Trump over the last year, and signaled the growing pushback from U.S. allies to the protectionist trade policies.

The White House announced last week that Canada, Mexico and the European Union nations would face a stiff 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% tariff on imported aluminum. Initially announced in March, the levies took effect Friday.

In imposing them, Trump invoked a little-used provision in the law that permits the use of tariffs to counter a national security threat.

Trudeau denied on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Canada or its steel and aluminum industries posed any such menace. Canada is one of America’s largest trading partners and one of its closest military and political allies.

Mia Rabson of The Canadian Press reported that the U.S. exports more steel to Canada than it imports:

Trudeau added that he does not know what Trump wants Canada to do in order to remove the tariffs, because the U.S. actually exports more steel to Canada than Canada sends to the U.S., and when it comes to oversupply from China, Canada is on the same page as Trump.

Canada recently instigated an anti-dumping investigation on Chinese steel, and in March introduced greater powers for Canada customs agents to search for steel products attempting to dodge duties with various measures like incorrect labelling or slight modifications.

Pushing back against the American tariffs, Canada laid out more than $16 billion in retaliatory tariffs, matching the steel and aluminum tariffs and adding in an array of consumer goods from toilet paper to orange juice to playing cards and ball point pens.

Trudeau said the goods Canada picked are those that can be easily sourced from domestic or other international suppliers. However they also target exports from states of significant American political leaders, such as gherkins and yogurt from House Speaker Paul Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin, and bourbon from Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky.

Patti Domm of reported that Trump will visit Canada this week:

Trump is expected to arrive in Quebec Friday, June 8. “With the European Union and the U.S. also at odds, I think it is not going to be an amicable summit,” said Hartasanchez.

For now, the focus is on the reactions to tariffs and the U.S. reactions to retaliation.

“That is the biggest concern, that this could spiral out of control very quickly,” he said. “I believe the countries are now looking at the U.S. to see if they react again to the initial response. … Let’s hope things stay where they are now and don’t continue to deteriorate,” he said.

Trump’s critics are not just abroad. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce saidTrump trade policies threaten 2.6 million jobs. Farmers have objected to threats from China and other countries to reduce purchases of U.S. crops. Republican leadership in Congress also voiced opposition to the tariffs, and Speaker Paul Ryan said they were misguided and the U.S. should target unfair trading practices of nations such as China.

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