Canada announces details of tariffs on US goods

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier talks with media in Ottawa on Wednesday

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier talks with media in Ottawa on Wednesday

The Trudeau government intensified Friday its trade fight with U.S. President Donald Trump, posting an extensive final hit list of $16.6-billion worth of American imports that will be slapped with retaliatory tariffs this weekend. "The real solution to this unfortunate and unprecedented dispute is for the United States to rescind its tariffs on our steel and aluminum".

Most Canadian politicians, including those in Alberta, support the federal government's retaliatory tariffs as a way of standing up for Canadian jobs.

"We believe that cooperation is a better path forward than escalation", said Kent Bacus, the association's director of global trade and market access.

Canadians are particularly anxious about auto tariffs because the industry is critical to Canada's economy.

It's all part of Ottawa's plan to strike back at the U.S.in response to hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum, 25 per cent and 10 per cent respectively, imposed last month by Trump.

Freeland called it "the strongest trade action Canada has taken in the postwar era".

Ryder was less optimistic about whether the USA would hold off on imposing further tariffs against Canada.

In May, when the USA said it would not extend exemptions from the tariffs to Canada and Mexico, it said those talks were moving too slowly.

The ministers highlighted the $2 billion US annual trade surplus on iron and steel products with Canada, and doubled down on calling the national security argument-the reason given by the USA for imposing tariffs-as "inconceivable and completely unacceptable". Freeland said such tariffs would be "absurd" because the North American auto industry is highly integrated and parts made in Canada often go to cars manufactured in the United States and then sold back to Canadians.

"I don't think we'll see any reaction from the Trump administration".

The tariff response it the latest development in an escalating spat between the two countries, which trade more than $500 billion in goods annually.

Ottawa also unveiled Can$2 billion (US$1.5 billion) in aid for the two sectors and their 33,500 workers. "If you want to change it you have to make serious proposals, but you don't just walk away", he said. However, the federal government would risk looking like it was caving in to Trump's bullying - and public opinion polls say Canadians support the federal government standing firm.

Last week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the U.S. tariffs against Canada and other allies were created to force them into action to address the world's overproduction and overcapacity of steel.

The Trudeau government's decision to stand up to Trump with retaliatory measures has attracted wide support in Canada.

The ministers reiterated Friday that Canada has taken steps and introduced safeguards to address concerns about diversion and dumping of products into the Canadian market.

On support for businesses and workers, Friday's federal package includes similar measures to those offered by Ottawa past year in response US duties on softwood lumber products from Canada.

At the end of May, the Trump administration imposed a 25 percent tariff on European Union steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum.

Extending the duration of work-sharing agreements by 38 additional weeks under the Employment Insurance program to help employers retain their skilled workforce and avoid layoffs during challenging times.

Ottawa is also promising to boost funding for the provinces and territories to increase job and training programs, and to provide liquidity support for impacted businesses.

Steel and aluminum exports to the United States were worth €3.58 billion in 2017. They've given the president a long leash and will continue to do so.

But before we pop open a cold Canadian beer on Sunday to celebrate standing up to Trump, keep in mind this trade war, even if it doesn't escalate further, will raise the price of products on both sides of the border.

The Government of Canada will invest $50 million over five years to help Canadian companies diversify their exports to take advantage of new trade agreements, such as CETA and CPTPP.

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