"We have to believe that at some point, common sense will prevail. But we see no sign of that in this action today by the US administration," Canadian PM Trudeau says after new US tariffs. https://t.co/WZSlzSsTNU pic.twitter.com/l2VDZiOIF3
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) May 31, 2018
Sick of trying to appease Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is fighting back while making it clear that his grievance is with Trump and not the American people.
Bloomberg reported on Thursday that “Justin Trudeau finally looks fed up with Donald Trump.”
Canada had pushed for an exemption from Trump’s tariffs — thinking, now naively, there’d be a perk to being a neighbor, ally and largest buyer of U.S. goods. Trudeau had bitten his tongue through skirmishes over airplanes, lumber and North American Free Trade Agreement talks.
That all changed Thursday when Canada, along with Mexico and the European Union, lost exemptions to the U.S. metal tariffs.
He fired back with tariffs on U.S. exports of everything from whisky to motorboats to orange juice. He said the legal basis of tariffs — U.S. national security — was an affront to Canadian soldiers who died fighting alongside Americans in numerous global battles.
Speaking to reporters in Ottawa, a visibly angry Trudeau called the U.S. tariffs “inconceivable and deplorable.”
He also took to his Twitter account with a multi-part thread to announce the scope of Canada’s retaliatory measures.
“American tariffs on Canadian aluminum & steel are unacceptable. As we have said, we will always stand up for our workers, and today we’re announcing retaliatory measures to this attack on our industry,” he began.
“Canada will impose tariffs against imports of steel, aluminum, and other products from the US – we are imposing dollar for dollar tariffs for every dollar levied against Canadians by the US,” he continued. “These countermeasures will only apply to goods originating from the US and will take effect on July 1, and will remain in place until the US eliminates its trade-restrictive measures against Canada.“
He also reiterated the fact that Canada would “challenge” Trump’s “illegal” tariffs, tweeting: “Canada will also challenge these illegal & counterproductive measures under NAFTA Chapter 20 and at the WTO. It is simply ridiculous to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the US and we will continue to stand up for Canadian workers & Canadian businesses.“
He concluded by explaining that his grievance was with Trump and not the American people, that Canada remains a “friend” and “ally.”
“Americans remain our partners, friends, and allies. This is not about the American people. We have to believe that at some point their common sense will prevail. But we see no sign of that in this action today by the US administration.“
Americans remain our partners, friends, and allies. This is not about the American people. We have to believe that at some point their common sense will prevail. But we see no sign of that in this action today by the US administration.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 31, 2018
Bloomberg elaborated on Trudeau’s response, reporting that: “Trudeau, a regular advocate of free trade and multi-lateralism, placed the blame squarely at Trump’s feet.”
“Today’s decision belongs entirely to the U.S. administration. That was their choice,” he said. “The Trump administration simply doesn’t understand its measures will hurt Americans,” he said, adding: “We will continue to make arguments based on logic and common sense and hope that eventually they will prevail against an administration that doesn’t always align itself around those principles.”
Earlier in the day, Trudeau’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, called the tariffs “the strongest trade action Canada has taken in the post-war era.” His finance minister, Bill Morneau, said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was going to get an earful at the Group of Seven finance ministers’ meeting that began Thursday in Whistler, British Columbia. “I don’t want to kid you, we will need to talk about this first and foremost,” he said.
Making matters worse, this is the second incident between the Trump administration and Canada in less than a week.
The Independent reported that: “Trudeau said months of intense negotiations between his country, the United States and Mexico imploded on Tuesday when Vice President Mike Pence demanded that any deal expire automatically in five years.”
Mr Trudeau said he was prepared to travel to Washington this week to try and finalise a rework of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), but Mr Pence – in the phone call – said a meeting would only occur if the “sunset” provision was agreed to in advance.
However, as Bloomberg and The Independent reported, that meeting never happened due to Pence’s demand.
“There was the broad lines of a decent win-win-win deal on the table that I thought required that final deal-making moment,” Trudeau stated, adding: “I had to highlight that there was no possibility of any Canadian prime minister signing a Nafta deal that included a five year sunset clause, and obviously the visit didn’t happen.“