U.S. President Donald Trump is firing the first shot in what could amount to a global trade war, announcing plans to slap hefty tariffs on foreign imports of steel and aluminum as a means of protecting American jobs.
The Canadian government was quick to threaten retaliation against the United States if steel and aluminum from Canada are included in the administration’s trade action.
Mr. Trump said on Thursday he intends to levy 25-per-cent tariffs on steel imports and 10-per-cent on aluminum imports, sending U.S. stock markets tumbling over fears of global retaliation and higher inflation.
“We’re going to build our steel industry back and our aluminum industry back,” he said of the measures, which his administration has defended as necessary for national security, including the building of ships and tanks.
These measures – which Mr. Trump said will not be formally unveiled until next week – could also exacerbate the already-strained renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement. In NAFTA talks, Canada and Mexico are fighting a series of protectionist demands from the Trump administration.
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