A group representing Canada’s aluminum producers is angry that a seven-decade trade relationship with the U.S. is being undermined by President Donald Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on foreign metals.
Trump announced the tariffs on Thursday, telling a group of U.S. metal industry executives that imported steel will be slapped with a 25 per cent tariff and foreign aluminum will face a 10 per cent tariff. Canada is the top supplier of both to the U.S., with $15 billion a year in combined sales.
Trump has partially justified the proposed duties with a Cold War-era law that was meant to ensure the U.S. is not forced to rely on imports from unfriendly nations if war disrupts global trade. The plans for tariffs on aluminum and steel follow a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce that suggests cheap imports are a national security threat.
That justification has been particularly hard for Aluminum Association of Canada president Jean Simard to accept. “I find it very contemptuous,” he told CTV News Channel on Saturday. “The U.S. has been provided by Canada with responsibly-produced, low carbon, fairly traded aluminum for about 70 years. (Now) we are dealt with like we were North Korea.”
Trump has not spelled out how the tariffs could be applied to Canada, or other nations, offering only passing remarks via Twitter about the benefits of “easy to win” trade wars and recovering lost jobs.
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