Canada blasts U.S. tariffs "totally unacceptable", announces counter-tariffs

Glen Norman
June 7, 2018

Washington D.C. [USA], Jun 3: United States President Donald Trump on Saturday claimed that the U.S. was being taken advantage of by other countries on trade for the past many years. Both threatened retaliatory tariffs on US products. "We've had long-standing relationships with all these countries that are very important across all different aspects", Mnuchin told reporters.

Mnuchin also noted that when it came to the other countries' views on US trade actions that "there was clearly a consensus from the rest of them", according to the Wall Street Journal.

Trudeau called the reasoning "frankly insulting and unacceptable". The list which covers 10- pages of US products includes bourbon and Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Previously, the USA had been known as a leader of free trade and supported these other countries - some of which are the closest US allies - in opening their policies. The White House said the meeting focused on reducing the US trade deficit by having China buy more agricultural and energy products.

The Trump administration's shifting stance on China may complicate Ross's ability to extract concessions from Beijing.

Countries around the world are fighting back against President Donald Trump's decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, announcing retaliatory countermeasures and warning that the US plan will hurt USA consumers.

Trump asserted that the USA had to be treated fairly on trade.

In addition to asking the U.S.to reconsider and reverse the tariffs, the six finance leaders noted that because of the actions taken by the US, "collaboration and cooperation has been put at risk". China pressed the U.S.to give ZTE a break after the Commerce Department cut off the company from USA suppliers to punish it for allegedly lying to American officials in a sanctions case.

By contrast, past year tariffs accounted for only about 1 per cent of federal revenue.


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier this week when the tariffs came into place that the move is "totally unacceptable", with Ottawa planning impose tariffs of up to 25 per cent on about $13 billion worth of USA exports starting July 1.

Trump tweeted, "When you're nearly 800 Billion Dollars a year down on Trade, you can't lose a Trade War!"

Trudeau said he wants to respect the government's 30-day consultation period on its proposed $16.6-billion tariff package, retaliation for the Trump administration's decision to impose 25 per cent import duties on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum. Initially announced in March, the levies took effect Friday.

Buoying Trudeau's tone change is near-unanimity in Canada about the tariffs.

Trudeau denied on "Meet the Press" that Canada or its steel and aluminum industries posed any such menace.

Speaking to reporters, Mnuchin said that global economic leadership remains one of President Trump's goals, adding that national security was also of importance to the U.S. But the security aspect is what many of other leaders see as problematic.

Mexico also responded to the taxes, saying it would impose tariffs of its own, and the European Commission promised legal action. Trudeau said Trump is scheduled to attend and that he expects "frank and serious conversations amongst world leaders".

"These tariffs may go on for a while or they may not", he said.

While there may be Canadian-made alternatives, these tariffs will "inflict pain" on domestic firms as some inputs or unique products can not easily be switched or replaced, said Dan Kelly, the chief executive of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.


The confrontation, he warned, will hurt consumers and workers on both sides of the border.

"Ministers and governors agreed that this discussion should continue at the leaders' summit in Charlevoix (Quebec), where decisive action is needed", the statement said. But President Donald Trump has dusted them off in recent months and restored tariffs to a prominent place in his America First approach to the rest of the world.

Other allies have denounced the tariffs in similarly harsh terms.

In Whistler, the bombshell news was hard to miss, even if a panel of prominent economic and political leaders did their level best to avoid it.

Trump has suggested the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement might be scrapped in favor of seeking bilateral agreements with Canada and Mexico.

Trump explained the imposition of tariffs by the USA desire to achieve fair conditions in trade.

The White House on Sunday pushed back against the notion that Trump's trade moves were unfair or irreversible. He said Trudeau was "overreacting" to the new tariffs.

The strong language sets the stage for a hard meeting in one week when the heads of state of the G-7 will meet in Charlevoix, Quebec, signaling a clear intention of other member nations to confront the USA over its recent trade policies.

But House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., one of Trump's top allies on Capitol Hill, downplayed the stakes of the latest developments.


Still, some American lawmakers have the same fear about its trade war with China.

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