OTTAWA — U.S. President Donald Trump is imposing a new 10 per cent tariff on Canadian aluminum that is set to imminently come into effect.
In announcing the new trade action at an event in Ohio, Trump said that: “Canada was taking advantage of us, as usual.”
The federal government was informed by the U.S. administration that the new tariff was coming, and will apply to unprocessed Canadian aluminum.
Trump claimed on Thursday that the American aluminum business has been “decimated” by Canada, calling it “very unfair.”
He also said that the new tariffs are “absolutely necessary,” and pledged he will “always put American workers first.”
The United States has been considering whether to slap tariffs on aluminum imports coming from Canada, under Section 232 of the U.S. Trade Expansion Act, unless Canada agreed to restrict its export volumes through quotas.
Trump hit Canada with steel and aluminum tariffs in May 2018, during negotiations for the new NAFTA deal. The tariffs remained in place for a year, during which time Canada reciprocated with dollar-for-dollar countermeasures on American steel, aluminum, as well as levelling a surtax on other goods.
A year later, Canada and the U.S. issued a joint statement announcing a decision to lift the tariffs, confirming that the two nations also agreed to terminate World Trade Organization litigation Canada launched after slamming the U.S. tariffs as “punitive” and “an affront” to Canada-U.S. relations.
The new NAFTA came into effect on July 1, meaning this latest American trade action comes just over a month into the new deal.
The largest private sector union has called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “stand firm” against the prospect of the re-imposition of tariffs and has suggested that Canada should retaliate.
Speaking to the prospect of the tariffs, Unifor National President Jerry Dias has called the prospective tariffs “totally unwarranted.”
Dias has said that the arguments that American steel producers are making to the Trump administration about the need for intervention — including that a surge in Canadian aluminum imports is causing aluminum prices to collapse — are “preposterous and utterly divorced from reality,” because globally, due to COVID-19, demand for metal has gone down and that’s led to the declining prices.
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