May 1, 2018 9:27:03 pm
Canada has repeated its position that imposing punitive trade measures would hurt jobs in both countries, in reaction to US President Donald Trump’s decision to postpone steel and aluminum tariffs that were set to go into effect on Tuesday. The Trump administration said on Monday that the 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico would be suspended until June 1.
Speaking a few hours before the announcement, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the tariffs were a “very bad idea” guaranteed to disrupt trade between the two nations.
“As the Prime Minister said today, we remain confident that the US administration understands that tariffs would hurt American jobs as much as they would Canadian jobs,” said Adam Austen, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. In a statement emailed late on Monday, Austen also said Canada would work to secure good jobs for steel and aluminum workers on both sides of the US-Canadian border.
The tariffs as well as Trump’s insistence that Canada and other nations accept the idea of import quotas look set to further complicate slow-moving talks to update the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The influential auto lobbies in Canada and Mexico are upset by new US proposals for increasing NAFTA’s regional content for vehicles produced in the three member nations of the 1994 trade pact.
Trudeau and Freeland, who is due to testify to a Canadian Senate committee later on Tuesday, have already made clear they expect Canada to be granted a permanent exemption from the tariffs.
The Aluminium Association of Canada on Tuesday said the US move to put off a decision would only increase uncertainty affecting the industry worldwide. “Nothing less than a permanent and total exemption is required as soon as possible,” Jean Simard, the association’s president, said in a statement.
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