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U.S. tariffs on steel will hit Canadian defence industry: minister

01 June, 2018, 07:00 | Author: Melinda Barton
  • Trump Administration Slaps New Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on Major Allies - Katie Pavlich

- The Trump administration has decided that trade negotiations have proven fruitless and will go ahead with imposing tariffs on imported aluminum and steel from Canada, Mexico, and the EU. "Make America Great Again" shouldn't mean 'Make America 1929 Again.'What's next?

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the sanctions from Paris, where he had been negotiating with European Union leaders who were trying to avert the tariffs.

Canada, Mexico and Europe had been exempted until June 1 from import duties of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum when they were first imposed in March. However, later he granted an exemption to the European Union and other USA allies; that reprieve expires Friday.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, left, welcomes US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross prior to their meeting at French Economy Ministry in Paris, May 31, 2018. Officials noted this is the strongest trade action Canada has taken in the post-war era. "Canada buys more American steel than any other country in the world, accounting for 50% of USA exports", said Freeland in a statement.

Europe, Canada and Mexico say that as close allies of the United States they should receive exemptions from the measures. "This doesn't bode well for NAFTA negotiations". "There is no longer a very precise date when they may be concluded and therefore they were added into the list of those who will bear tariffs". In his public comments on the tariffs, however, the president rarely references this rationale, focusing instead on an economic argument for taking radical measures to reduce America's trade deficit.

Mr Stace said it was "correct" for the European Union to pursue safeguards, but urged the countries to find a common solution that addresses the "root cause" of the issue. "They are not mutually exclusive behaviors", he said.

The tariffs take effect on July 1 and will last until the US ends its move.

Economists are of the view that tariffs on steel and aluminium imports could help local producers of the metals by making foreign products more expensive, however, they might not be beneficial to the U.S. manufacturers. "They're a clear demonstration that our trade with the U.S.is in balance".

And he said Trump has the authority to alter the tariffs or impose quotas or "do anything he wishes at any point" - allowing "potential flexibility" to resolve the issue.

Ross played down the divisions.

"There are periodic disagreements between any two countries on any given set of topics".

"It all depends on how the various parties react to the circumstances".

When asked about the possibility of escalating tensions, Ross said it would be up to the other countries to respond in kind to the president's decision Thursday.

In response, the European Commission confirmed it would be triggering a dispute settlement case at the World Trade Organisation and will impose "rebalancing measures and take any necessary steps to protect the EU market from trade diversion caused by these United States restrictions", according to a statement on its website on Thursday (31 May).

Dr Fox said the U.S. was using a national security pretext for what is "just protectionism".

President Giles Ashmead said: "While the USA is not a major export market for UK-produced aluminium, indiscriminate tariffs are a hindrance to free trade, and do little to secure a "level playing field" for global commerce". Canada and its European allies have spent recent days making a concerted effort to head off the move.

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. Trudeau and Macron will meet next week in Ottawa before the G7 to talk strategy.

The move comes after failed attempts to reach deals to address national security concerns related to foreign-made steel and aluminum.

A list of countermeasures would include tariffs on USA metals and food products such as yogurt, pizza and cucumbers, as well as household products like mattresses and refrigerators.


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