Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

Canada Imposes Retaliatory Tariffs On US Imports

U.S. President Donald Trump | Alex Wong  Getty Images U.S. President Donald Trump | Alex Wong Getty Images
Lindsey Cook | 01 June, 2018, 19:15

Reacting to the USA decision to activate tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, Ottawa said it would impose its own import levies on over $16 billion worth of U.S. products such as whiskey and orange juice.

Mexico's ministry of economy pledged to impose equivalent measures, and included a partial list of USA goods that would face tariffs, including pork bellies, cheese, and produce such as grapes and apples.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and several other world leaders, are not pulling any punches in the worldwide blowback to President Donald Trump's decision to put tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

"The EU believes these unilateral USA tariffs are unjustified and at odds with World Trade Organization rules".

Imposition of tariffs on European steel and aluminium imports could provoke retaliatory tariffs and inflame trans-Atlantic trade tensions.

"The ties of commerce, friendship, and in many cases, family, between Americans and Canadians are undiminished", he said, in announcing that Canada is slapping counter-tariffs on the United States.

The White House announced on Thursday that it would be ending the temporary exemptions to the steel and aluminum tariffs for the European Union, Canada, and Mexico.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday that the U.S.

"The Trump administration seems to regard overt threats, including tariffs and repudiation of previous agreements, as a key element for gaining leverage in trade negotiations", said Eswar Prasad, a former head of the International Monetary Fund's China division and now a professor at Cornell University.

Speaking of NAFTA, Trudeau said he told Mr. Trump last week he would go down to Washington with Freeland and personally sit down with the president to work out details.

The EU has threatened retaliatory duties on $3.3 billion of US exports of products such as motorcycles, jeans and whiskey.

Ross himself heads to Beijing on Friday where he will attempt to get firm deals to export more U.S. goods in a bid to cut America's US$375 billion (S$502 billion) trade deficit with China.

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Critical over the tough negotiating position of the EU by Ross, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier thought otherwise and said that the Europeans were willing to negotiate special trade arrangements, notably for liquefied natural gas and industrial goods, including cars.

Tata Steel Europe urged the EU Commission to "take swift and robust action to combat the indirect effects" of the tariffs.

The White House has announced that it will stop giving exemptions to steel and aluminum tariffs for the European Union, Mexico, and Canada.

The tariffs represented the latest tactic in Mr Trump's "America First" agenda, which has unnerved traders and investors and raised the spectre of a trade war involving the U.S. and China - the world's two largest economies - as well as other key nations.

According to the German steel industry association, the European market could see an increase of up to 50 percent in steel imports.

"We will not accept this highly regrettable decision without reacting", he said.

Canadian makers and users of aluminum and steel say they are disappointed but not surprised by the Trump administration's decision to impose hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum produced north of the border.

Stock markets around the world, including in the US, mostly closed in the negative territory Thursday.

"What they can do, we are able to do exactly the same", Juncker said.

The administration is taking the action under a relatively obscure US trade law meant to protect national security.

The tariffs have faced sharp criticism in the USA from businesses and lawmakers, including Republicans typically allied with the president.

"As to Canada, Mexico, you will recall that the reason for the deferral had been pending the outcome of the NAFTA talks", he said.

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