On Thursday the president of the United States Donald Trump announced new tariffs, which were meant with promises of countermeasures and criticism.
He said that the United States will set tariffs of 10 percent for aluminum and 24 percent for steel, with no quotas being imposed and broadly applied tariffs with no countries being targeted. “People have no idea how badly our country has been treated by other countries. By people representing us who didn’t have a clue,” the president said, “trade trends have destroyed American steel and aluminum industries.”
Since Canada is still trying to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States, it is not clear if these tariffs will apply to Canada, but that is not stopping the government from reacting.
Canadian officials were very quick to respond, saying that they will be changing their own tariff measures. Francois-Philippe Champagne, the Canadian Trade Minister said that the tariffs are “unacceptable.” He promised to defend Canada’s workers in the aluminum and steel industry.
Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement that “Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers. Any trade restrictions are absolutely unacceptable.”
Canada is the biggest supplier of both aluminum and steel to the United States, with about 75 percent of its goods being exported there. Canada also buys more American made steel than any other country in the world and accounts for half of all U.S. exports.
It isn’t only Canadian officials speaking out against Donald Trump’s announcement today.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission said that “We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk,” and that in the next few days the European Commission will suggest “countermeasures against the U.S. to re-balance the situation.”