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Canada hits back at U.S. with retaliatory tariffs

Trudeau government will levy tariffs on American maple syrup, bourbon and beer kegs

by Vanmala Subramaniam
May 31 2018, 6:53pm

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Canada has retaliated against the Trump administration’s decision to impose tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum by mirroring those tariffs, and slapping additional ones on a list of other American products.

Those include yoghurt, meat, jam, maple syrup, roasted coffee (not decaffeinated), toilet paper, whiskies and beer kegs made out of steel and aluminum.

These countermeasures signal the start of an all out trade war between the two countries who are each other’s largest trading partners.

Calling them the "strongest trade action Canada has taken in the post-war era," Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland outlined a dollar-for-dollar response to a "very bad U.S. decision."

“American tariffs on Canadian aluminum & steel are unacceptable. As we have said, we will always stand up for our workers, and today we’re announcing retaliatory measures to this attack on our industry,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a press conference Thursday afternoon.

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The Canadian government will impose surtaxes against roughly $16.6 billion in imports of steel, aluminum and other products from the U.S., deliberately targeting certain American manufacturers.

“This list is a very carefully considered and carefully put together list, that has been made with a few considerations in mind — mainly to support and defend the steel and aluminum industries in Canada,” Freeland said. “It is only appropriate that U.S. competitors should face equivalent barriers.”

Canada accounts for roughly half of American steel exports, and there are about 100,000 Canadians employed in the domestic steel industry.

The Trump administration is at odds with Canada over a number of issues related to the auto manufacturing industry and agriculture — both countries are attempting to iron out these disputes as part of a NAFTA renegotiation. However, things came to an impasse this week, leading U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to impose tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

Canada’s countermeasures will take effect on July 1, and remain in place as long as the Trump administration continues to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada.

Cover image: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

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