“We will impose dollar-for-dollar countermeasures in a balanced and perfectly reciprocal response,” she said. “We will not climb and we will not retreat. ”
Freeland said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will spend the next 30 days consulting with Canadian citizens and businesses on a broad list of products containing aluminum. Canada’s new tariffs on U.S. imports, she said, will total C $ 3.6 billion ($ 2.7 billion).
Trump, during a speech Thursday at a manufacturing plant in Whirlpool, Ohio, announced that he had signed a proclamation reimposing tariffs of 10% on aluminum imports from Canada that had been lifted over a year ago. The president complained that Canada was putting American workers in the aluminum industry at a disadvantage.
“The aluminum sector was being decimated by Canada,” he said.
Trudeau pledged to adopt countermeasures against the United States just hours after Trump’s announcement.
Neither the White House nor the Commerce Department immediately responded to CNBC’s requests for comment on Canada’s actions.
The text of Trump’s proclamation indicates that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross informed Trump that Canadian aluminum imports “have increased significantly” in the months following the decision to lift tariffs in mid- 2019.
The so-called surge “threatens to harm domestic aluminum production and capacity utilization,” the proclamation reads.
Freeland blasted the claim on Friday, saying the tariffs would hurt U.S. consumers already suffering from the economic devastation inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“By imposing these tariffs, the United States has made the absurd decision to harm its own people at a time when its economy is suffering the deepest crisis since the Great Depression,” Freeland said.
“These tariffs are unnecessary, unjustified and completely unacceptable,” she added. “They shouldn’t be imposed. Let’s be clear: Canadian aluminum is in no way a threat to the national security of the United States, which remains the apparent reason for these tariffs, and that’s a ridiculous notion. ”
Freeland also noted that the new tariffs come just over a month after the U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal came into effect – the Trump-backed trade pact that replaced the Free Trade Agreement. North American, or NAFTA.
“Now is the time to advance North America’s economic competitiveness, not hinder it,” she said.