Feds unveil counter-tariffs, offer metal and manufacturing industries up to $2B

Chrystia Freeland

"It is with regret that we take these countermeasures, but the USA tariffs leave Canada no choice but to defend our industries, our workers and our communities, and we will remain firm in doing so".

When Canada's retaliatory tariffs were first announced, Bilous said he met with Alberta business leaders to hear their concerns. And at the end of the day, Ujczo added the Trump administration's overarching objective of the talks has been to stop Canada and Mexico from being the back door to North America for Chinese goods, like steel.

Aside from tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the USA, dozens of additional consumer goods will be subject to 10 per cent duties - from ketchup, to lawn mowers, to playing cards. At the time, she said she told Canadians the federal government expected "moments of drama in this process".

In Washington, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association said the tariffs would hit $170 million worth of US beef products.

In comments filed with the US Commerce Department, GM said expansive tariffs could "lead to a smaller GM, a reduced presence at home and overseas for this iconic American company, and risk less - not more - US jobs".

Alberta's steel and aluminum production is relatively small, with exports of $500 million worth of steel going to the USA each year but there are concerns over how an escalating trade war could affect the province's energy and agricultural industries.

Potential tariffs of 20 percent on autos have also been threatened by the president.

Export Development Canada will make $900 million available over the next two years in commercial financing and insurance to companies in the steel and aluminum sectors and related industries.

Trump, of course, has continuously personally insulted Trudeau ever since the Prime Minister's comments on retaliatory tariffs following the G7 Summit earlier this month.

"We will not escalate and we will not back down", Freeland said Friday. A WTO official said Friday that the organisation has not heard from the USA about reconsidering its membership.

"I don't think we'll see any reaction from the Trump administration".

Last week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the U.S. tariffs against Canada and other allies were created to force them into action to address the world's overproduction and overcapacity of steel.

Bilous acknowledged that both sides get hurt by tariffs but said countermeasures are a necessary step.

Ottawa would take measures to stop the dumping of steel in the coming weeks once it had finished consulting stakeholders, said Canadian Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, appearing at the same event as Freeland. "We are also concerned about further escalation and potentially wider and deeper impacts on Canadian businesses".

Meanwhile, asked about reports that Stephen Harper will meet senior US officials in Washington next week, Ms. Freeland said the former prime minister did a good job defending Canada on USA television earlier this month and that she wished him well in all his endeavours.

"We need to stand up for Alberta businesses, for workers".

Ryder was less optimistic about whether the USA would hold off on imposing further tariffs against Canada.

"We believe there are business-friendly responses that could be used to encourage continued free trade with the United States".

The minister also announced funding to help protect steel and aluminum companies and their employees. On the campaign trail this week, Trump continued his attacks on Canadian dairy, wheat and duty-free customs allowances for Canadians returning home, saying they were scuffing up brand new shoes in order to sneak them in.

That amount includes $50 million over five years to help companies diversify markets and take advantage of European Union and Asia-Pacific trade deals.

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