Quebec backs aluminum, steel companies hit by U.S. tariffs – by Steven Chase (Globe and Mail – June 12, 2018)

Quebec is offering $100-million in loans and guarantees to steel and aluminum companies hit by recent U.S. tariffs, raising the possibility of trade complaints against Canadian firms.

Dominique Anglade, Quebec’s Economic Minister, told reporters in Montreal that the program came after aluminum and steel companies received feedback from clients who are not willing to pay the tariffs. “What they’re telling us is some of their contracts were cancelled,” she said, adding some had already slowed production.

Ten days ago, the United States imposed hefty tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum imports, characterizing shipments from Canada as a threat to national security. Over the weekend, the President threatened to impose 25-per-cent import taxes on foreign car and truck imports, a move that would devastate Canada’s auto industry.

Ms. Anglade said the impact of the tariffs on metals was felt more quickly than when the United States announced tariffs on softwood lumber in 2017.

The Quebec assistance could very well draw the ire of U.S. industry and trigger allegations of unfair subsidies, one veteran cross-border trade watcher said.

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