Canada has declared that it will fight back dollar for dollar – to the tune of C$3.6bn – after the US reported a 10% tariff on Canadian aluminum.
Donald Trump declared the new aluminum tariffs on Thursday at a campaign stop at a Whirlpool appliance plant in Ohio, blaming Canada for taking advantage of its trade relationship with the US.
“The aluminum business was being decimated by Canada, very unfair to our jobs and our great aluminum workers,” he said.
At a news conference on Friday, Canada’s deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland, called the move “unwarranted and unacceptable” and said Canada would not heighten an trade war – yet that it would not withdraw either.
Freeland depicted the tariff – which would apply to unalloyed, unwrought aluminum – as a demonstration of self-sabotage on the part of US, since it will build the assembling cost and sale costs of customer items including beer cans, appliances and cars.
“These tariffs will hurt American consumers and they will hurt American workers,” said the deputy prime minister. “Any American who buys a can of beer, a soda, a car or a bike will suffer.”
She additionally rebuked the Americans’ use of a national security proviso in the nation’s Trade Expansion Act to trigger the tariff.
“Canadian aluminum in no way presents a threat to US national security.” she said, adding that key US industries including defence rely on Canadian aluminum. She also said it makes the North American aluminum industry more competitive globally.
Thursday’s tariffs denoted the second time the Trump organization had focused on Canadian metal. In June 2018, the US forced a 10% tariff on aluminum, alongside a 25% tariff on Canadian steel, additionally refering to national security concerns.
Around then, Canada fought back with C$16bn in tariffs on American products, focusing on items made in key Republican-held electoral districts including ketchup, bourbon and lawnmowers.
The US ultimately moved in an opposite direction from the tariff in May 2019. The standoff on aluminum and steel was one of the last barriers standing in the way of the two nations consenting to the new Nafta agreement, USMCA.
This time, Freeland said Canada would spend 30 days counseling Canadian customers and businesses about which American-made products should confront tariffs. On the list of potential targets are golf clubs, bicycles, exercise equipment and washing machines – like those manufactured by Whirlpool.
Bits of gossip about the tariff started swirling earlier this summer. In June, the Canadian auto worker union president, Jerry Dias, told CBC: “The long-term negative ramifications for Canada would be huge. But it would be equally so for the United States. All it does is gouge the American consumer.”
Freeland said the government trusts the US cancels the aluminum tariff before it produces results 16 August.
“Common sense will prevail,” she said. “I just hope that happens sooner rather than later.”