Alwaght- The US trade war with the world is expanding as Canada struck back Washington over steel and aluminum tariffs, vowing to impose punitive measures on $12.63 billion worth of American goods until Washington relents.
The announcement by Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland marks a new low in ties between the neighbors and trading partners which have become increasingly strained since US President Donald Trump took power in January 2017, Reuters reported.
The Canadian tariffs will come into effect on July 1 and largely target US steel and aluminum products, but also foodstuffs such as coffee and ketchup, according to a list by the Department of Finance.
“We will not escalate and we will not back down,” Freeland told reporters at a Stelco Holdings Inc plant in the Ontario steel city of Hamilton.
Officials say the measures are designed in part to pressure Trump by focusing on goods from states where his political allies hold sway.
Canada’s Liberal party government said last month it would retaliate after Trump moved against steel and aluminum imports from Canada and other nations, citing security grounds.
“We are acting very much in sorrow, not in anger,” said Freeland, stressing the closeness of the overall relationship. Freeland said she had already spoken to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer six times this week and was prepared to meet at any time to tackle the issue.
Ottawa also unveiled an aid package for affected industries and workers worth up to C$2 billion, consisting mainly of up to C$1.7 billion in commercial financing and insurance for firms in the steel and aluminum sectors and related industries.
The Trump administration is studying whether to put tariffs on Canadian autos, which economists say would help plunge the economy into a recession. Freeland called the idea “absolutely absurd”.
Trudeau, who usually attends celebrations in Ottawa on July 1 to mark the Canada Day holiday, will instead spend part of the weekend with families of steel workers in the western province of Saskatchewan, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said on Twitter. Goodale is from Saskatchewan, where Evraz plc has a major plant.