Steel mills in Hamilton, Ontario in operation on March 4, 2009. The United States has fired a warning shot in what could become a global trade war. It's threatening to clobber worldwide steel and aluminum imports with tariffs. The U.S. administration has delivered a series of recommendations to President Donald Trump, and he must decide on a course of action by April. CP/Frank Gunn

Steel, aluminium tariffs in U.S. rattling Canadian industry


Steel tariffs are the latest threat from American President, Donald Trump.

A proposed 25 per cent tariff on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium is a major concern to Canadian producers.

It is still not clear if Canada is to be included in the tariffs, which are expected to go into effect next week.

“absolutely unacceptable”

There are approximately 22,000 well paying jobs connected to the steel industry in Canada, and an estimated 100,000 indirect jobs.

Canada exports about 4 million tonnes of steel annually over the border, about 90 per cent of our production.

While it’s just 16 per cent of what the U.S. imports, we are their largest supplier.

US President Donald Trump (R) talks with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the beginning of the third working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8, 2017. (Reuters/Ludovic Marin)

The talk of more American tariffs raises the prospects of an increasing global trade war.

“The United States has a $2-billion surplus in steel trade with Canada”

China is seen as the main target of the tariff move, as that country dumps steel into so many other markets, depressing global prices.

The tariffs may help American steel producers, but many other domestic industries are protesting the action.

From car companies, to beer companies and construction firms in the United States the potential increase in costs is not good news.

Canada wasted no time in responding.

Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, issued the following statement today:

“As a key NORAD and NATO ally, and as the number one customer of American steel, Canada would view any trade restrictions on Canadian steel and aluminum as absolutely unacceptable.

“Any restrictions would harm workers, the industry and manufacturers on both sides of the border. The steel and aluminum industry is highly integrated and supports critical North American manufacturing supply chains. The Canadian government will continue to make this point directly with the American administration at all levels.

“Canada is a safe and secure supplier of steel and aluminum for U.S. defence and security.  Canada is recognized in U.S. law as a part of the U.S. National Technology and Industrial Base related to national defence.

“The United States has a $2-billion surplus in steel trade with Canada. Canada buys more American steel than any other country in the world, accounting for 50% of U.S. exports.

“It is entirely inappropriate to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States.  We will always stand up for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses.  Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers.”

Posted in Economy, International, Politics

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