OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada beat the Trump government on Friday against US steel and aluminum tariffs and vowed to sanction Washington's $ 16.6 billion in American goods.
Secretary of State Chrystia Freeland's announcement marks a new lows in relations between neighbors and trade partners, which has become increasingly strained since US President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.
The Canadian tariffs come into force in July 1 and mainly US steel and aluminum products, but also foods such as coffee, ketchup and whiskey, according to a list of the Ministry of Finance. tinyurl.com/y8w5g895
"We will not escalate and we will not give in," Freeland told reporters at a plant owned by Stelco Holdings Inc in the steel city of Hamilton, Ontario.
Officials say the measures are partly designed to put Trump under pressure by focusing on goods from states where his political allies rule.
Canada's liberal party government said last month that it would avenge itself after Trump turned against steel and aluminum imports from Canada and other nations for steel reasons.
"We act in mourning, not in anger," Freeland said, emphasizing the closeness of the whole relationship. Bilateral trade is worth about $ 2 billion per day.
Freeland said she had talked to US Representative Robert Lighthizer six times this week and was ready to meet anytime to tackle the problem.
Ottawa also unveiled an aid package for the affected industries and workers worth up to $ 2 billion, mainly commercial financing and insurance up to $ 1
The Trump government is considering whether to impose tariffs on Canadian cars, which economists believe would help plunge the economy into recession. Freeland called the idea "absolutely absurd".
The US Embassy in Ottawa said it has no immediate comment.
While the opposition parties have largely backed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to face Trump, their support could be tested as US tariffs begin to take hold.
Trudeau, who usually celebrates in Ottawa on July 1 to celebrate the Canada Holiday, will instead spend part of the weekend with families of steel workers in western Saskatchewan, said Minister of Public Security Ralph Goodale on Twitter , Goodale is from Saskatchewan, where Evraz plc has a large factory.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said earlier this month that some of the tariffs were designed to bring cheap steel to the United States via Canada and other countries.
Ottawa would take action in the coming weeks to stop the dumping of steel as soon as it consulted with stakeholders, said Canadian Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, who appeared at the same event as Freeland.
In Washington, the National Cattleman's Beef Association said customs duties would reach $ 170 million worth of US beef products.
"We believe that cooperation is a better way than an escalation," said Kent Bacus, director of the Association for International Trade and Market Access.
U.S. Officials have also joined the tariffs with slow progress in the negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump says is a disaster and needs to be changed.
Freeland said she expects negotiations to enter an intense phase following a Mexican presidential election on July 1.
David Ljunggren's coverage; Editing by Dan Grebler and Grant McCool