Adrian Morrow, Steven Chase, The Globe and Mail
August 6, 2020
U.S. President Donald Trump has started a new continental tariff war, reimposing tariffs of 10 per cent on most Canadian aluminum that Canada will match with tariffs of its own.
“In response to the American tariffs announced today, Canada will impose countermeasures that will include dollar-for-dollar retaliatory tariffs,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter on Thursday evening.
In a statement, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland described Mr. Trump’s move as “unwarranted and unacceptable.” She did not say if the retaliatory tariffs would affect only U.S. aluminum or would extend to other exports.
The U.S. tariffs take effect on Aug. 16 and apply to raw aluminum, which the White House says accounted for 59 per cent of Canadian exports of the metal to the U.S. over the past year. Mr. Trump is imposing them under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, which allows the President to use tariffs for “national security” purposes.
”Canadian aluminum does not undermine U.S. national security,” Ms. Freeland said. “Canadian aluminum strengthens U.S. national security and has done so for decades through unparalleled co-operation between our two countries.
Flavio Volpe, president of the industry group for Canadian auto parts manufacturers, said Mr. Trump is only hurting his own economy, because everyone from the U.S. military to the Ford Motor Co. relies on Canada’s aluminum.
“Say what you will about Nero, but at least he was a hell of a fiddler. This guy’s burning it all down without a soundtrack,” he said.
Mr. Trump has built his political brand on blaming other countries for the hollowing out of the U.S. manufacturing industry and embracing protectionist measures. Less than three months from election day, he trails Democratic rival Joe Biden in the polls and has lost ground over the summer amid a mounting COVID-19 case count.