Trudeau calls Trump's tariffs 'insulting' to longstanding US-Canada alliance

Trudeau calls Trump's tariffs 'insulting' to longstanding US-Canada alliance

President Donald Trump announced last week that the United States would place 25 percent tariffs on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union.

After the USA announced tariffs on Thursday, Canada responded with retaliatory tariffs, taking "the strongest trade action Canada has taken in the post-war era", according to Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, while Trudeau said "we have to believe that at some point their common sense will prevail".

Canada retaliated with $16.6 billion worth of "countermeasures" that hit a range of products from flat-rolled steel to playing cards, while Mexico also plans tariffs on a variety of USA products, including flat steel.

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that Washington's decision to impose the tariffs - Canada provides half of all U.S. aluminum imports - had lessened the chances for a successful outcome of the NAFTA talks.

Freeland pointed out that Canada is considered part of the US national defense industrial base and has been an ally of the USA for 150 years.

"We're putting the same kinds of tariffs exactly on steel and aluminum coming from the United States into Canada", Trudeau said.

Kudlow, the president's top economic adviser, said the friendship between the United States and Canada has nothing to do with the tariffs.

While there may be Canadian-made alternatives, these tariffs will "inflict pain" on domestic firms as some inputs or unique products can not easily be switched or replaced, said Dan Kelly, the chief executive of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

According to a Reuters report, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso called the us tariff actions "deeply deplorable". "You don't sign a trade deal that automatically expires every five years".

The tariffs are also imposed on other allies like Mexico and the European Union, both of which have also hit back with retaliatory tariffs.

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Trudeau said that the United States has a $2bn billion surplus on steel with the USA, and was "very much aligned" on the issue of China.

Trudeau, who took office in 2015, is expected to press his case directly with Trump next weekend when Canada hosts the annual Group of Seven summit, which brings together leaders of the world's largest economies, in Quebec.

Trudeau on Thursday said he was prepared to travel to Washington to try to finalize a rework of NAFTA, but Pence, in a phone call, said a meeting would occur only if the "sunset" provision was agreed to in advance.

In addition to asking the U.S.to reconsider and reverse the tariffs, the six finance leaders noted that because of the actions taken by the US, "collaboration and cooperation has been put at risk".

Mr Morneau, who presided at the ministerial meeting in Whistler, said even though the group found common ground on many subjects, G7 members are now forced to do whatever they can to persuade Trump to withdraw the tariffs.

The tariffs are also unlikely to force the Mexican government's hand, especially given current electoral dynamics.

"We're going to be polite but we're not going to be pushed around", he said.

Mnuchin faced so much criticism from his counterparts that Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said he nearly "felt sorry" for the USA finance chief.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said that direct discussions between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump may help resolve the issue, though Japan has refused to accept import quotas.

Speaking with reporters at the White House, Trump said America's neighbors are "two very different countries" that perhaps should no longer be governed by the same trade rules.

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