US, Canada trade war?


U.S. President Donald Trump has floated the idea of additional tariffs of 25 per cent on all vehicles crossing the American border - an action industry and experts warn would hammer the Canadian economy.

It begs the question: what comes next? But domestic businesses, particularly those in the steel sector, have expressed deep concerns about any escalation in the trade battle.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government on Friday released the final list of items including ketchup, lawn mowers and motor boats, that will be targeted from July 1 with some subjected to taxes of 10 or 25 per cent amounting to $US12.6 billion ($A17 billion).

"We will not escalate and we will not back down", she said, while noting that this trade action was the strongest Ottawa has taken since World War II.

The tariffs will go into effect Sunday.

Axios news agency reported on Friday that Trump had repeatedly told top White House officials he wants to exit the WTO, citing unidentified sources.

Freeland said there are no grounds for further USA tariffs in response to Canada's actions.

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"The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch on a way forward". When the TV reporter said Canada would retaliate by slapping tariffs on USA products, "I went down the list, and they said gherkins".

"The Prime Minister conveyed that Canada has had no choice but to announce reciprocal countermeasures to the steel and aluminum tariffs that the United States imposed on June 1, 2018".

Freeland said there were "absolutely no grounds" for a US tariff on autos, but said the government was prepared for all possible outcomes. The product will now be hit with a 10 per cent duty.

Canada's foreign affairs minister said she has spoken to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer six times this week and told him she was willing to meet face-to-face whenever convenient.

She said she expects "common sense will prevail".

"There's too much at stake", she said. "I think all of us, at this point, fully anticipate there will be some moments of drama in the future".

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

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"I'm not expecting this to create the kind of waves that are going to make any big difference", Mr. Watson said Thursday.

"Canada has always been a safe, secure and reliable source of steel and aluminum for the USA market".

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. Indeed, Canada is recognized in U.S. law as part of the U.S. National Technology and Industrial Base related to National Defence. The move helped upend one of the world's most important trading relationships and soured ties between Ottawa and Washington.

Canada says it has already taken steps to address any dumping of metals into its market. The company did not comment on how many jobs would be shifted away from the US, but said that it would take between nine and 18 months to move production away from Wisconsin.

The federal government has also doubled its work-sharing agreement, Hajdu said, from 38 to 76 weeks in addition to other assistance measures. The aim is to help businesses retain skilled workers and avoid layoffs during any rough patches ahead. Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada are offering up to $1.7-billion in loans and services to the aluminum and steel sectors, including small and medium-sized businesses.

"The measures announced today will help strengthen the competitiveness of Canada's steel and aluminum companies and contribute to economic growth while increasing the capacity of the industries to innovate, grow value added, support product and market diversification, and create and sustain jobs for Canadians". They've given the president a long leash and will continue to do so.

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