No more Mr Nice Guy: Canada's Trudeau gets tough

Casey Dawson
June 3, 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May is deeply disappointed at the U.S. decision to apply tariffs to European Union steel imports, as she herself said in a statement issues by her office on Friday.

Canada announced plans to slap tariffs on $12.8 billion worth of USA products, ranging from steel to yogurt.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters Thursday that new tariffs of 10 percent on imported steel and 25 percent on aluminum would take effect by midnight and be imposed on three of the US' biggest trading partners - Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

Asked if the United States was isolated on the issue of tariffs in the G7 talks, Dombrovskis said: "Indeed".

The final list of Chinese imports affected by United States tariffs will be announced June 15 and imposed shortly thereafter, while the proposed investment restrictions and enhanced export controls will be announced by June 30, according to the White House.

The European Union on Friday formally set in motion its trade retaliation against the United States tariffs, filing a request for consultations at the WTO, which oversees disputes on global trade.

Mr Trump has said the tariffs are needed to protect United States steel and aluminium industries vital to the nation's security.

Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron made their cases separately Wednesday to dissuade Trump, who is using a national-security clause in USA trade law to justify the move.

Canada hit back at steep U.S. tariffs on aluminium and steel on Thursday, announcing retaliatory duties on up to CAN16.6 billion in American imports.

The finance ministers of the six countries, who participated in the G7 Finance Ministers Meeting in Whistler, Canada, along with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have threatened to impose their own set of tariffs on American goods.

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U.S. President Donald Trump's tariffs are driving a wedge in the G7 - and laying the groundwork for a potential clash among its leaders next week in Quebec's Charlevoix region.

The U.S., Canada and Mexico have been holding talks to renegotiate the deal. The European Union and China also said they will deepen ties on trade and investment as a result of the announcement.

"The US has agreed on a range of measures with Argentina and Australia, including reducing excess aluminium production and excess aluminium capacity, measures that will contribute to increased capacity utilisation in the United States, and measures to prevent the trans-shipment of aluminium articles and avoid import surges", Mr Trump wrote in a proclamation on Thursday.

The U.S. Commerce Department recently launched an investigation into imported cars, trucks and auto parts.

The EU has said the bloc will also apply tariffs in retaliation.

The European Union and Canada are the largest USA exporters of steel and aluminum respectively. "The US economy will suffer as much as any other economy".

The spokesperson said the government stands by its analysis that the total value of the goods subject to tariffs is 16.6 billion Canadian dollars.

In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday that the tariffs were "totally unacceptable".

"Trump's trade actions are blatantly illegal".

Mr Morneau has called that "absurd" because Canada is no security risk to the U.S., and he warned the tariffs will destroy jobs on both sides of the border.

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