Canada has responded to American tariffs on steel and aluminum imports by slapping $16.6 billion Canadian dollars, or about $12.5 billion U.S. dollars, worth of taxes on U.S. imports. The levies went into effect yesterday.
The U.S. has placed 25% and 10% tariffs on steel and aluminum imports respectively, from Mexico, China, Turkey, India, the European Union and Canada. Those taxes went into effect on June 1.
Canada responded with tariffs of its own on more than forty U.S. steel products of 25%. Additionally, a 10% tariff has been levied on over eighty other American imports including toffee, maple syrup, coffee beans and strawberry jam.
The response is meant to be proportional to the American tariffs according to CNBC, with Canada’s tariffs based on the amount of steel and aluminum exported to the U.S. last year.
The U.S.’ taxes on steel are expected to be particularly troubling for Canada as the country was the largest exporter of steel to the U.S. (in dollar amount) last year. Over $5.5 billion worth of Canadian steel was exported to the U.S. in 2017.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the new taxes at the end of a recent G7 summit in Quebec. Trudeau called the U.S. tariffs “insulting” and said that “it would be with regret, but it would be with absolute certainty and firmness that we move forward with retaliatory measures on July 1, applying equivalent tariffs to the ones that the Americans have unjustly applied to us.”
“I have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing but it is something that we absolutely will do. [As] Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable but we also will not be pushed around,” he said at the time.
The comments sparked a nasty war of words between President Trump, his advisers and Trudeau.
“PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @g7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, ‘US Tariffs were kind of insulting’ and he ‘will not be pushed around.’ Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!” the President wrote on Twitter after learning of Trudeau’s comments.
“There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door,” said Peter Navarro, President Trump’s top trade representative.
“And that’s what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference. That’s what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did. And that comes right from Air Force One.”
Mexico has also imposed tariffs on American products. Last week, the European Union imposed $3.2 billion in tariffs of its own on American goods including orange juice, bourbon, peanut butter, motor boats, cigarettes, denim and most notably, Harley Davidson motorcycles.
Complicating matters is that in the midst of this bourgeoning trade war, the U.S., Canada and Mexico are in the middle of an intense re-negotiation of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Photo by LadyDragonflyCC via Wikimedia Commons