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Tit-for-tat: Canada to slap tariffs on US aluminium products

作者:admin 2020-08-08

Canada will slap retaliatory tariffs on $2.7bn worth (3.6 billion Canadian dollars) of United States aluminium products after Washington said it would impose punitive measures on Canadian aluminium imports, a senior official said on Friday.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland told a news conference the countermeasures would be put in place by September 16 to allow consultations with industry.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday moved to reimpose 10 percent tariffs on some Canadian aluminium products to protect US industry from a "surge" in imports. Canada denies any impropriety.

"A trade dispute is the last thing anyone needs - it will only hurt an economic recovery on both sides of the border. However, this is what the US administration has chosen to do," said Freeland.

"We do not escalate and we do not back down," she said later, describing the US decision as unjust and absurd.

The Canadian list of goods that might be subjected to tariffs include aluminium bars, plates, household articles, refrigerators, bicycles and washing machines.

It is the second time in two years that Canada has struck back at Trump over trade. In 2018, Ottawa slapped tariffs on $12.5bn (16.6 billion Canadian dollars) of American goods ranging from bourbon to ketchup after Washington imposed sanctions on Canadian aluminium and steel.

Canadian officials may be calculating that the measures will be short-lived. An Ottawa source briefed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office said Canadian officials are increasingly sure that Trump will lose the November 3 presidential election to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Trump acted just weeks after a new continental trade pact between the US, Canada and Mexico took effect. The North American economy is highly integrated and Canada sends 75 percent of all its goods exports to the US.

The premier of Ontario, Canada's most populous province, said earlier on Friday that he had encouraged Freeland to impose tariffs on as many US goods as possible.

"For the president to come and attack us during these times, during a pandemic when we need everyone's support, is totally unacceptable," Doug Ford told a news conference.  

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