Canadian PM Trudeau Gets Tough on Trump Tariffs: 'Totally Unacceptable'

Aaron Brown
June 3, 2018

Mr Trump has said the tariffs are needed to protect United States steel and aluminium industries vital to the nation's security.

Ministers urged the U.S.to quickly abandon the tariffs ahead of the leaders' summit before the move causes deeper divisions within the G7.

Macroeconomic Advisers, a research firm focused on the United States economy, reported Wednesday that the U.S. trade deficit in goods was "much narrower than expected", implying "substantially more" USA exports in the second quarter.

Canada's finance minister says talks among world economic officials will be hard this weekend following the USA decision to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on its closest allies. Accordingly, despite the historical precedent for unilateral, protectionist trade measures to result in a weaker US Dollar, market participants are seemingly unmoved by the latest developments. "This is not about the American people. But we see no sign of that in this action today by the U.S. administration", the prime minister said.

While the tariffs being higher than expected could certainly have ramifications for U.S. businesses, experts say they would be permitted under worldwide law.

But his remarks on Thursday marked a stark change in Trudeau's tone towards the American president.

"We still have a few days to take the necessary steps to avoid a trade war between the European Union and the USA, and to avoid a trade war among G7 members", French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters.

All three have said they will strike back with tariffs on USA exports and suggested they may coordinate their actions in a bid to bring the U.S. administration back to negotiations.

Speaking at a news conference Thursday, the normally mild-mannered young prime minister expressed particular dismay that the tariffs announced by the Trump administration were being imposed on national security grounds to protect the USA economy and vital industries.

Only 24 hours after he applied hefty tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, President Trump described for the first time how he envisions the future of NAFTA.

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"You're talking about a very different two countries", Trump added.

That Canada could be considered a national security threat to the United States is inconceivable.

"It's a lot of money but I'm still willing to support it, if it gets a NAFTA deal done in the short term", says Zekelman.

The ties of commerce, friendship and, in many cases, family between Americans and Canadians are undiminished - indeed, they have never been stronger. Those days are over.

The U.S. has commonly justified the tariffs by citing national security concerns, which both Freeland and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have staunchly dismissed.

Trump previously threatened to completely withdraw from NAFTA, but he withdrew this stance until earlier this year.

"He's not directly in charge of the metal tariffs, so in that sense it was very tough for him", Aso told reporters.

The Canadian-born billionaire wants Trudeau to agree to a USA demand for a five-year sunset clause on NAFTA.

The tariff tit-for-tat has further complicated a hard and drawn-out NAFTA renegotiation process that has failed to reach resolution despite repeated claims from leaders and trade officials that progress is being made and a deal is not far off.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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