Canada Signals ‘Trade War’ in Seeking Steel, Aluminum Exemptions – by Danielle Bochove, Josh Wingrove and Kristine Owram (Bloomberg News – March 1, 2018)

Canada is vowing to retaliate if U.S. President Donald Trump makes good on his pledge to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum producers — while holding out hope that it could be exempt.

Trump said he intends to slap a 25 percent duty on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum in order to protect the national industry, though details remain unclear. His words sent U.S.-based producers rallying but could hurt companies that ship steel and aluminum from Canada, including Rio Tinto Group and Stelco Holdings Inc., without an exemption.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said that Canada buys more than half of American steel, resulting in a $2 billion surplus for the U.S. She also said it’s “entirely inappropriate” for the U.S. to consider the country a threat to national security.

“We will always stand up for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses,” Freeland said Thursday in a statement. “Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers.”

Businesses with steel and aluminum operations in Canada were also swift to respond. “The President has just initiated an all-out trade war,” said Jean Simard, chief executive officer of the Aluminum Association of Canada.

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