The situation was rife with potential conflict. In the throes of a U.S. election campaign, Canada was preparing to announce major retaliation against President Donald Trump’s administration for the levies it proposed last month against Canadian aluminum imports.
The countermeasures could have affected votes in battleground states, and the likelihood was that Mr. Trump would strike back, escalating tensions as he fought for his political livelihood and drawing Canada into election hostilities.
But unless Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is out-and-out lying, the bully has backed off, having run away with its tail between its legs. Just a couple of hours before Ottawa’s retaliatory tariffs were to be imposed, Mr. Trump withdrew his aluminum levies, thus ending the dispute.
U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer tried to save face, suggesting it was not a retreat and instead warning that the tariffs would be reimposed if Canadian exports exceed quotas in the months ahead. He implied that Ottawa had agreed to the terms for quotas.
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