Canada hits the US with $12-6 bn retaliatory tariffs
30 June 2018
Canada hit the United States on Friday with retaliatory tariffs worth $12.6 billionon popular US imports like Florida orange juice, ketchup and Kentucky bourbon.
The reataliatory measures that also target US steel, aluminum and consumer goods will come into effect on Sunday, 1 July.
The new measures are Canada' response to the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump 1 June. The Canadian government also unveiled C$2 billion in aid for the two sectors and their 33,500 workers.
Ottawa "had no choice but to announce reciprocal countermeasures to the steel and aluminum tariffs that the United States imposed on June 1, 2018," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Trump in a call on Friday, a statement from his office said.
The statement added the two leaders agreed to stay in close touch on a way forward.
Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland announced the tariffs at a steel facility in Hamilton, Ontario.
"We will not escalate and we will not back down," she said, pointing out that this was the strongest trade action by the country WW II.
But she said the move was made with "regret" and "very much in sorrow, not in anger" against a close ally.
The list of more than 250 US goods subject to Canadian duties — including Florida juice, Wisconsin toilet paper and North Carolina gherkins, which are labour intensive to produce — aim to pressure Trump supporters key states in November's US midterm elections.
The penalties will add 25 per cent to the cost of US steel, and 10 per cent to aluminum and consumer goods.
Canadians are overwhelmingly in favour of the retaliation.
In Ottawa, Canadian officials and others declined an invitation to the US ambassador's annual July 4th celebrations.
Canada and the US are among the world's two largest trading partners with an estimated $673.9 billion worth of goods and services exchanged in 2017, with the US earning a surplus ($8.4 billion), according to the US government data.
"But relations between these two neighbors have plunged to their lowest in decades, reaching new depths at the recent Group of Seven summit when Trump abruptly rejected the joint statement and insulted Trudeau," AFP reported.
The report added, Canada and Mexico initially were exempted from the US metals tariffs — as was the European Union — but Trump allowed the duties to take effect 1 June after talks stalled to revamp the 1994 trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).