Canada announces final list of retaliatory tariffs

Going too far? Trudeau’s overly liberal course might do him a disservice

Today the Government of Canada announced that in direct, measured and proportional response to us tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, reciprocal surtaxes on $16.6 billion of imports of steel, aluminum and other products from the United States will come into effect July 1, 2018.

The Canadian tariffs will come into effect on July 1 and largely target US steel and aluminum products, but also foodstuffs such as coffee, ketchup and whiskies, according to a list by the Department of Finance.

Earlier in the day the federal government unveiled an updated list of USA products that are about to be slapped with tariffs while promising to spend up to $2 billion to protect steel, aluminum and manufacturing jobs on this side of the border in the wake of a burgeoning trade war with the U.S.

It's all part of Ottawa's plan to strike back at the U.S.in response to hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum, 25 per cent and 10 per cent respectively, imposed last month by Trump.

Many of the U.S. products were chosen for their political impact, rather than economic.

"We support our federal government's retaliatory tariffs in response to the USA administration's illegal protectionist actions", he told reporters on a conference call Friday.

And earlier this week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer issued a statement defending the imposition of U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs on national security grounds, and said retaliatory levies proposed by the European Union, China and others are "distorting" WTO rules. Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said they had no other choice and called the tariffs regrettable.

"Canadians are in a position of vulnerability when we could have been in a position of strength" during the trade dispute, Poilievre said.

"This is a perfectly reciprocal action", Freeland said.

Canada continues to work towards full and permanent removal of these unjustified and illegal USA tariffs.

"I was sitting in my La-Z-Boy chair and, you know, they were talking about Trump", he says.

The Trump administration in May launched an investigation into whether imported vehicles posed a national security threat.

The Trump administration is studying whether to put tariffs on Canadian autos, which economists say would help plunge the economy into a recession.

Freeland said Canada is prepared if US President Donald Trump escalates the trade war.

Canada will also spend $50 million over five years to help companies diversify exports and take better advantage of the new free trade agreement with Europe and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Trudeau announced Canada's intention to retaliate against Trump's tariffs at the end of May.

United States tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods are to take effect July 6 and a further $16 billion in tariffs.

While opposition parties have so far largely backed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for standing up to Trump, their support could be tested once the USA tariffs start to bite.

Our federal government is also putting aside $2 billion to help Canadian companies hit by the trade crossfire.

Federal ministers will announce more than $1-billion in loans and new funding for the steel and aluminum sectors at 11 a.m. on Friday, sources said.

Ottawa had been consulting on the proposed list of goods to mitigate any unintended consequences for Canadian businesses, though it is anticipated the tariffs and counter-tariffs will cost consumers on both sides of the border.

For companies, Ottawa is promising up to $1.7 billion worth of financing and services for steel and aluminum industries through Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.

Bains, the economic development minister, said the support is aimed at helping firms adjust to the hard circumstances while enabling them to continue to innovate along the way.

Ms Freeland called the idea of auto tariffs "absolutely absurd". "If you want to change it you have to make serious proposals, but you don't just walk away", he said.

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