Ottawa has threatened a tit-for-tat response to US protectionism after President Donald Trump slapped a 10 percent levy on Canadian aluminum imports, saying countermeasures would come “swiftly.”
Trump announced the trade penalties during a speech in Ohio on Thursday, insisting Canadian producers had flooded the United States with exports and killed “all our aluminum jobs,” adding that, in order to defend US industry it was “absolutely necessary” to reimpose tariffs previously lifted last year.
The move quickly prompted a reaction from Ottawa, with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland arguing it would only intensify the pain imposed on workers and regional economies by the Covid-19 crisis, vowing to retaliate just as the country did in 2018, after the Trump administration first brought levies on Canadian metal imports.
“In response to the American tariffs, Canada intends to swiftly impose dollar-for-dollar countermeasures,” Freeland said in a statement, condemning the US levies as “unwarranted and unacceptable.”
In the time of a global pandemic and an economic crisis, the last thing Canadian and American workers need is new tariffs that will raise costs for manufacturers and consumers, impede the free flow of trade, and hurt provincial and state economies.
The renewed wrangling over tariffs comes just weeks after a new trade pact between Canada, Mexico and the US came into effect, some two years after it was signed on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in 2018. Though the agreement was designed to smooth over trade relations between the three neighbors, insoluble disagreements remain, as indicated by Thursday’s dueling tariff announcements.
Shortly after Trump’s speech in Ohio, his administration announced a pair of executive orders targeting US business transactions with two Chinese tech firms, escalating international trade disputes on multiple fronts in a matter of hours.
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