Minister of Finance Bill Morneau speaks to the media in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, May 30, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

U.S. to slap steel and aluminium tariffs on Canada, Mexico

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says new tariffs on steel and aluminum in effect as of midnight tonight.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the U.S. will slap tariffs on Canadian, Mexican and European Union steel and aluminium as of midnight tonight.

Canada, Mexico and Europe were exempted from import duties of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum when they were first imposed in March, but those exemptions will expire on Friday.

Ross told a conference call with media this morning that he is looking forward to continuing negotiations.

But in the case of Canada and Mexico, he said the decision was based on making progress in the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement talks, and there is no resolution in sight.

“The talks are taking longer than we had hoped.”

If Canada and Mexico choose to take retaliatory measures, it would not affect the ability to keep renegotiating NAFTA as a separate track, he added.

Related: Trudeau sounds alarm bell as U.S. inches toward tariff war

Related: Canada will not bend to U.S. steel tariff pressure in NAFTA talks: Freeland

On Wednesday, the Trudeau government said it would take additional steps to prevent foreign steel and aluminum from being dumped into the North American market — news that appeared designed to try to head off the tariff decision.

But the U.S. is pressing ahead nonetheless, a long-threatened tactic sure to cast a pall over the G7 summit Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is hosting next week in Quebec. Some observers say a G6-plus-one scenario is already shaping up, with U.S. President Donald Trump as the outlier.

Trump had been widely expected to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminum imports after failing to win concessions from the European Union. Canada and its European allies have spent recent days making a concerted effort to head off the move.

Trudeau spoke with Trump by phone earlier this week.

Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron made their cases separately Wednesday to dissuade Trump, who is using a national-security clause in U.S. trade law to justify the move. Trudeau and Macron will meet next week in Ottawa before the G7 to talk strategy.

The prime minister also spoke by phone Wednesday with the premiers of Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan.

The Prime Minister’s Office said they “all agreed to continue to defend the Canadian steel and aluminum industry from unwarranted tariffs and to stand up for the best interests of all Canadian workers and businesses.”

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in a statement late Wednesday that Canada has expanded the scope of its country of origin marking regime for steel and aluminum products to better determine where they come from.

The expansion builds on new funding announced in late April of an initial outlay of more than $30 million over five years to hire 40 new officers to investigate trade-related complaints, including those linked to steel and aluminum.

That announcement came about a month after the Canada Border Services Agency was granted extra powers to identify businesses that try to dodge import duties and ship cheap foreign steel and aluminum through the Canadian market.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who pushed the steel and NAFTA issues during her meeting on Tuesday in Washington with U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer, has also made it clear that Canada would retaliate if the duties are imposed.

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Two Terrace kayakers set out on Nass River with fundraising mission

By travelling 380km, their aim is to encourage more youth to paddle

DFO announces openings for chinook

Opportunities are few between widespread closures

Lost Lake closed for fishing due to goldfish invasion

Pet fish is considered an invasive species to B.C. wild

Skeena Voices | Designing a strong identity

Kelly Bapty is the province’s first Indigenous female architect from a B.C. nation

Northwest couples compete at His and Hers golf tournament in Prince Rupert

Kitimat and Smithers couples take home the hardware

VIDEO: Stop-motion artist recreates Kawhi Leonard’s famous buzzer-beater

It took Jared Jacobs about 40 hours to make the video, on top of the research

Man charged in crash that killed B.C. pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged for 2018 Highway 1 accident where Kelowna elementary school teacher died

VIDEO: Clip of driver speeding past B.C. school bus alarms MLA

Laurie Throness of Chilliwack-Kent says he will lobby for better safety measures

Province unveils 10-year plan to boost mental health, addiction recovery services

The plan, called A Pathway to Hope, focuses on early-intervention services that are seeing high demand

Rock slide in B.C. river may hinder salmon passage

DFO says it is aware that the slide occurred in a narrow portion of the Fraser River

Four-hour tarmac delay violates charter rights of Canadians with a disability: lawsuit

Bob Brown says new rules reduce the distance he can travel by air without putting his health at risk

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Most Read