G7 attacks Trump plan for tariffs that 'put U.S. economy in jeopardy'

Dwayne Harmon
June 5, 2018

Freeland is making the announcement alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following word from the White House that the US will slap tariffs on Canadian, Mexican and European Union steel and aluminium as of midnight tonight. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the trade deal accounts for about 14 million American jobs. The move immediately sparked retaliation from those partners and raised the possibility of a sustained trade war. "In this case, it is simply a response to a first action", Guajardo told Mexican radio.

When asked about the significance of the past week for the Liberals' future electoral prospects, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in an interview that the government believes it got elected because people wanted it to make decisions to help Canadians feel more successful.

"We know there is a risk to employment but I think we'd like some time to have a discussion with the government about what kind of support is appropriate", he said.

China reiterated its threat on Sunday in the wake of the Trump administration saying the trade war was "on hold" and then back on again.

Rather than bowing to President Trump's trade threats, the European Union declared it would hit back with its own tariffs on a list of USA exports worth €6.4 billion ($7.5 billion), which could go into effect staring June 20.

Canada has responded to US tariffs on steel, aluminum and maple syrup with $16.6 billion worth of tariffs on USA products including beer, toilet paper and whiskey.

Later today, the prime minister will be meeting with The Canadian Steel Producers Association. "We have got to make reforms and we have to stand up for USA interests as we go along", Kudlow added.

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There's no word yet on when the Trudeau government is going to unveil an aid package for steel and aluminum firms and their employees who as of last week are facing hefty US import taxes on goods they ship to American customers.

In Canada, Trudeau announced what he called "directly reciprocal" tariffs targeting USA products like steel and toilet paper. He specifically noted the size of the trade deficit with China as he defended his moves.

Kudlow dismissed Trudeau's complaints, telling Fox News host Chris Wallace that Trudeau was reacting disproportionately to Trump's commitment to protecting USA industries and jobs. Unsatisfied with that commitment, President Trump announced this week he would place punitive tariffs on US$50 billion of Chinese imports and restrict Chinese investment in the American hi-tech industry.

The real threat China presents to the USA economy and US businesses is not a trade imbalance, but unfair trade practices such as discriminatory market access, including foreign ownership restrictions, forced technology transfers as a condition of doing business in China, and outright intellectual property theft. "We want to avoid a trade war", he said. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is now in Beijing meeting with Chinese negotiators.

"What the United States is going to say is that there is a provision in the [World Trade Organisation] that says, 'Yes, you can break your tariff commitments, you can discriminate if you fall under the terms of this security exception, ' " she says.

G7 officials conveyed "unanimous concern and disappointment"... In response, Beijing vowed to retaliate against United States exports to China with a matching value. Their largest market is Mexico, which announced plans to target US apples. That's why I think that the president is right.

Freeland and the Canadian government pegged the total value of the goods subject to the Canadian tariffs at 16.6 billion Canadian dollars, or roughly $12.8 billion U.S. dollars.

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