Canada hits U.S. with retaliatory tariffs on metals, whiskey, maple syrup

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier talks with media in Ottawa on Wednesday

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier talks with media in Ottawa on Wednesday

"We will not escalate, and we will not back down", Freeland told reporters at a steel mill in Hamilton, Ontario.

"We're not going for the escalation, but will not retreat", said Freeland.

As temperatures and tensions increase, the measures targeting Can$16.6 billion (S$17.21 billion) in USA steel, aluminium and consumer goods will take effect on Sunday, when Canadians celebrate a national holiday and just days before Americans celebrate Independence Day amid a heatwave expected in both countries.

Trudeau reportedly reiterated his position to Trump himself in a phone call on Friday.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland announced on Friday that Canada will slap tariffs on $12.63 billion in USA imports.

"The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch on a way forward", it said.

Canada will offer an aid package worth between C$500 million ($376.90 million) and C$800 million to help steel and aluminum industries and workers who have been hit by USA tariffs, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Canada will "not back down" in the face of new USA tariffs on steel and aluminium, according to the country's foreign minister.

"We are perfectly within our rights to respond", said Freeland, who was joined at the announcement by Trudeau cabinet colleagues Patty Hajdu and Navdeep Bains. She also filed a separate complaint under the North American Free Trade Agreement, arguing the the US tariffs are "completely unacceptable" and "illegal".

Trump has also threatened to slap a 25 per cent tariff on auto imports from Canada and ordered an investigation last month into whether such a move is warranted.

"Working in partnership with industry and business associations, we will provide capacity support to assist Canadian companies [to] tap into the new markets now uniquely open to them in Europe, Asia and around the world", said International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne.

Freeland said there was no reason for the Trump administration to escalate the trade dispute and Canada would not back down in the face of American violations of WTO and NAFTA trade rules.

"It is absolutely imperative that common sense should prevail", she said.

"The president has made it very clear that he thinks that people who are members of a group like North Atlantic Treaty Organisation should pay their fair share", she said on Fox Business.

"I don't think we'll see any reaction from the Trump administration".

Last week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressed concerns about the world's overproduction and overcapacity of steel, saying the U.S. tariffs against Canada and other allies are created to force them into action.

Canada places tariffs on dairy, egg and poultry imports above a set limit as part of its supply management system. The situation means it's now a top priority for stalled NAFTA talks to get moving as soon as possible, he said.

Many of the USA products were chosen for their political rather than economic impact. A WTO official said Friday that the organisation has not heard from the USA about reconsidering its membership. "But from the US perspective, it took the threat of tariffs to do that, to prod Canada toward that goal".

Last week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressed concerns about the world's overproduction and overcapacity of steel, saying the U.S. tariffs against Canada and other allies are created to force them into action.

"Canada has always been a safe, secure and reliable source of steel and aluminum for the US market".

The United Steelworkers said the government should be ready for a more ambitious financial package, including more direct help for affected workers if the dispute lasts longer.

"We support the federal government's counter-tariffs as a retaliation to the American bullying tactics".

The Trudeau government's decision to stand up to Trump with countermeasures has attracted wide support in Canada.

Latest News