Canada on Friday announced billions of dollars in retaliatory tariffs against the United States in response to President Donald Trump’s hefty tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, AP reported.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government released the final list of items that will be targeted from July 1. Some items will be subject to taxes of 10% or 25% amounting to $16.6 billion (Rs 1 lakh 13,600 crore) in tariffs.
Canada has decided to impose a tariff of 25% on a host of steel and aluminium products and 10% on goods, including pizza, quiche, whiskies, toilet paper and inflatable boats. Many US products were chosen for their political rather than economic impact, reported AP.
“As he [Trudeau] has said in past conversations and in public, the prime minister conveyed that Canada has had no choice but to announce reciprocal countermeasures to the steel and aluminium tariffs that the United States imposed on June 1, 2018,” Trudeau’s office said in a statement.
Trudeau reportedly reiterated his position to Trump himself in a phone call on Friday.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the “measured, perfectly reciprocal” actions are in line with similar moves by the European Union and Mexico in response to the tariffs imposed by the US in May, Toronto Star reported. “We will not escalate, and we will not back down,” she said.
“It is a reciprocal action ... It is a dollar-for-dollar response,” Freeland said. “We are perfectly within our rights to respond.”
Freeland said they are also prepared if Trump escalates the trade war. “It is absolutely imperative that common sense should prevail,” she said. “Having said that our approach from day one of the [North American Free Trade Agreement] negotiations has been to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.”
The Donald Trump-administration on May 31 imposed a 25% tax on steel and 10% on aluminium from its allies European Union, Canada and Mexico. Trudeau had said the tariffs were an affront to US-Canada relations. Like the European Commission president, Trudeau also said that they may challenge the move at the World Trade Organization.
On June 9, Trump withdrew his endorsement of a joint statement released at the end of the G7 summit held in Canada and said that the US tariffs were in response to Canada’s 270% tariff on dairy products. The G7 joint communique had advocated a “rules-based trading system”.