Canada retaliated at the Trump administration' steel and aluminum tariffs on Friday, vowing to impose punitive measures on C$16.6 billion ($12.63 billion) worth of American goods until Washington backs down. The tariffs, which will come into effect on July 1, will mostly target U.S. steel and aluminum products, as well as foodstuffs like coffee, ketchup and whiskies (the full list can be found here).
“We will not escalate and we will not back down,” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters at a Stelco Holdings in the Ontario steel city of Hamilton.
“We are acting very much in sorrow, not in anger,” said Freeland, stressing the closeness of the overall relationship. According to Reuters, bilateral trade is worth around C$2 billion a day.
Freeland also said she expected the negotiations would enter an intensive phase after a Mexican presidential election on July 1.
Freeland's announcement marked a new low in ties between the two neighbors and trading partners which have become painfully strained since Trump took power. As in the case of European and Chinese tariffs, the measures are designed to pressure Trump by focusing on goods from states where his political allies hold sway.
Separately, Ottawa also unveiled an aid package for affected industries and workers worth up to C$2 billion, consisting mainly of up to C$1.7 billion in commercial financing and insurance for firms in the steel and aluminum sectors and related industries.
To some the Canadians, Ottawa's response was not enough: the head of the Teamsters Canada union welcomed the announcement and said Ottawa should consider expropriating American pharmaceutical patents if necessary.
Canada’s measures to slap counter-tariffs on U.S. aluminum and steel, as well as an aid package for both industries, may need to be expanded if the trade dispute drags on, said Ken Neumann, national director of United Steelworkers.
He added that the Canadian government should consider “immediate” safeguards to steel dumping, and that loan guarantees and innovation fund announced by government is “helpful” but assistance for workers is “much more modest”
“The counter-tariff and community support measures announced today by the federal government is a good first step that will need to be expanded if the trade dispute continues beyond the short-term.”
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Meanwhile, the Trump administration is now studying whether to retaliate further by putting tariffs on Canadian autos, which economists say would help plunge the economy into a recession. Freeland called the idea “absolutely absurd”.
“We believe that cooperation is a better path forward than escalation,” said Kent Bacus, the association’s director of international trade and market access.
U.S. officials have linked the tariffs to slow progress in talks to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump says is a disaster and must be changed.
Finally, as disclosed one month ago, here is the list of US exports that will see a 25% tariff:
And 10% tariff on the following items...