Trudeau confident about Canada's position over U.S. tariff threat

by Leslie Wood March 10, 2018, 1:49
Trudeau confident about Canada's position over U.S. tariff threat

Along with the USA, the two nations make up the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is largely aimed at stemming such punitive tariffs.

The president has said the tariffs are needed to reinforce lagging American steel and aluminum industries and protect national security.

Yesterday's announcement from the White House that it would slap levies on imports of the key metals was met with anger from major trading partners like China, Japan and the EU.

President Donald Trump is suggesting that Australia and "other countries" may be exempted from steel and aluminum tariffs, along with Mexico and Canada.

Assuming Canada is exempt, Europe would be the country with approval for the highest retaliatory measures by dollar value - amounting to $US2.6 billion.

What impact will the tariffs have? Timken declined to comment to The Plain Dealer about the tariffs.

Australia's peak industry association says exemption from the United States' steel and aluminium tariffs would be a "partial victory" only, with many local companies still likely to be hit by hefty imposts.

"Even though China's over-capacity is weighing down global prices, it's not the direct cause of a loss of our aluminum and steel industries", Navarro said. He is hopeful that tariffs will lead to USW members at those facilities, and at other plants throughout the country, returning to work.

The EU's trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the bloc should be excluded from the measures and she would meet USA trade representative Robert Lighthizer to discuss the situation on Saturday. "The U.S. and Canada are the only two countries that consume more steel than they produce".

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The update came as congressional Republicans and business groups braced for the impact of expected tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, appearing resigned to additional protectionist trade actions as Trump signaled upcoming economic battles with China.

Like Canada, it pointed out that any negotiations over these tariffs are separate from the ongoing NAFTA talks.

ARE Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs good for America?

The US leader announced that the proposed hikes - which include 25 per cent on steel imports and ten per cent on aluminium - would take effect in 15 days.

Duties are imposed only after investigations reveal unfair trade has occurred. They can be based on dumping, or whether products were sold in the USA for less than they were in their home markets or for less than what they cost to make. China accounts for only a small fraction of U.S. steel imports, but its rapid rise to produce half the world's steel has helped create a global glut that has driven down prices.

The move, which fulfills a Trump campaign promise, has been widely criticized by economists who say it is certain to increase costs to USA consumers on items such as automobiles, household appliances and even energy, due to higher costs for pipeline construction. But the vast majority of Chinese steel shipments go to other countries. The global union applauded the tariffs.

A Eurofer spokesman also warned that the US's punitive tariffs not only make market access more hard for European steel but could flood Europe with imports from other nations unable to get into the United States market, pushing prices down and endangering EU jobs.

Teri Schultz, reporting for NPR from Brussels, says Malmstroem expects more details from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Saturday.

Our supply chains are integrated and, in steel, the United States runs a trade surplus with Canada. The EU, Brazil and Britain were also quick to launch broadsides against the tariffs, which are worth billions of dollars.


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