The federal government wants Canadian workers and companies to know it has their back. Canada has responded to illegal US tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum with the strongest trade action Canada has taken in the post-war era.
I was proud to stand with Ministers Chrystia Freeland, Navdeep Bains, and Patty Hajdu as well as my Golden Horseshoe colleagues on Friday June 30 at Stelco in Hamilton as our government announced the final list of reciprocal tariffs on $16.6 billion of imports from the US and up to $2 billion to defend and protect Canadian workers & businesses. Our response was strong, proportionate and perfectly reciprocal.
The Government of Canada will make available up to $2 billion to defend and protect the interests of Canadian workers and businesses in the steel, aluminum and manufacturing industries. This includes a comprehensive set of measures, like extending the duration of work-sharing agreements by 38 additional weeks to help employers retain their skilled workforce and avoid layoffs during challenging times and investing $50 million over five years to help Canadian companies diversify their exports to take advantage of new trade agreements, such as CETA and CPTPP. Working in partnership with business associations, this will include new “export readiness” grants.
The federal government’s counter-tariffs on a range of products took effect on Sunday, July 1, a month after the Drumpf administration slapped duties on U.S. steel and aluminum imports from Canada and other allies.
Canada’s response includes imposing $16.6 billion worth of tariffs on a long list of targeted imported American goods that come from a wide range of sectors, from ballpoint pens and maple syrup to orange juice and ketchup.
Our government stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our workers and the innovative, world-class products they produce. Working in partnership with industry and business associations, we will provide capacity support to assist Canadian companies tap into the new markets now uniquely open to them in Europe, Asia and around the world.
As key partners in NORAD and NATO, Canada and the US are integral to each others’ security. The United States has a US$2 billion annual trade surplus on iron and steel products with Canada. It is inconceivable and completely unacceptable to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States.
At our news conference, Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs make it clear that Canada has always been a safe, secure and reliable source of steel and aluminum for the U.S. market and that tariffs introduced by the United States on Canadian steel and aluminum are protectionist and illegal under WTO and NAFTA rules. It is with regret that the federal government has to take these countermeasures, but the U.S. tariffs leave Canada no choice but to defend our industries, our workers and our communities.
Canada will continue to monitor the trade situation closely and take additional steps as necessary to support Canadian workers, industry and competitiveness.
- In 2017, the Canadian steel industry employed more than 23,000 Canadians and contributed $4.2 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP).
- The Canadian aluminum industry employed 10,500 workers while contributing $4.7 billion to Canada’s GDP.
- Canada buys more American steel than any other country in the world, accounting for 50% of U.S. exports. In 2017, about US$14 billion of steel was traded between Canada and the United States.
- On aluminum, Canada and the U.S. share a highly integrated market with combined trade of more than US$11.4 billion annually.
- About 84% of Canada’s primary aluminum production is exported to the United States, where it is used as an important input for further processing into products for U.S. domestic and export markets.
- The Government of Canada has invested $50 million over five years to help Canadian companies diversify their exports to take advantage of new trade agreements, such as CETA and the CPTPP.