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Canada pushes back against Trump’s tariffs

Trade wars appear to be on the horizon, and just about everyone seems to be jumping on the tariffs bandwagon

Much like those in Europe who have been expressing their displeasure with Trump’s decision to levy tariffs on them despite their please, such as the EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau is lashing out against Trump’s foreign economic policy and threatening a retaliatory response.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Ottawa: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is furious at the Trump administration’s new tariffs to be imposed from Friday on Canadian, Mexican and European steel and aluminium.

The European Union says it is ready to retaliate immediately, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker calling the metals crackdown “protectionism, pure and simple”.

While French President Emmanuel Macron labelled them a mistake.

The move, announced by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a telephone briefing on Thursday, ended months of uncertainty about potential tariff exemptions and suggested a hardening of the Trump administration’s approach to trade negotiations. The reaction was swift.

In a long series of Twitter posts, possibly designed to speak to US President Donald Trump directly, Trudeau called the measures an “attack” and “unacceptable”, and announced retaliatory measures.

“We are imposing dollar for dollar tariffs for every dollar levied against Canadians by the US,” he wrote.

He added Canada would challenge the “illegal” measures under North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organisation rules, and finished by taking a swipe at Trump’s leadership style.

“We have to believe that at some point their common sense will prevail. But we see no sign of that in this action today by the US administration.”

A 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imports would be imposed on the EU, Canada and Mexico starting at midnight local time, Ross told reporters.

Canada would then impose retaliatory tariffs on $C16.6 billion ($16.93 billion) worth of US exports and those will stay in place until the US lifts its own measures, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said.

“The American administration has made a decision today that we deplore and obviously is going to lead to retaliatory measures, as it must,” a visibly annoyed Trudeau said at a news conference with Freeland on Thursday.

“We regret that. We would much rather move together in partnership.”

Trudeau said that in NAFTA talks, Canada, the US and Mexico had come so close to a deal he had offered to meet Trump in Washington.

But he said US Vice-President Mike Pence told him on Tuesday that as a precondition for that meeting, Trudeau would have to agree to a five-year sunset clause. He refused.

“There was the broad lines of a decent win-win-win deal on the table,” Trudeau said.

Rather than immediately caving to Trump’s demands for a ‘better deal’ for America, US trade partners are increasingly getting fed up with Trump’s vision of global trade and the concept that America alone should come out on top in every trade scenario at the loss of everyone else. Trade wars appear to be on the horizon, and just about everyone seems to be jumping on the tariffs bandwagon.

 

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