Canada hoping its tariff threat will prompt US back down

Canada’s government not ready to discuss support, potential bailout packages for Canadian businesses

Canada’s finance minister said Friday he is hopeful the threat of retaliation against U.S. trade measures will persuade the Trump administration to back away from the steel and aluminum tariffs it has imposed on its G7 allies.

The tariffs have landed just as Finance Minister Bill Morneau presides over a meeting of finance ministers from the G7 industrial nations at which the event’s pre-set agenda has been overtaken by fears of a trade war.

Morneau said Canada’s government isn’t ready to discuss support or potential bailout packages for Canadian business sectors affected by the tariffs. He said the focus now is to use the threat of retaliatory measures to pressure the U.S. into reconsidering its own tariffs before any negative economic impact actually materializes.

Canada’s retaliatory tariffs don’t go into effect until July, which in theory leaves plenty of time for U.S. President Donald Trump to reconsider his position.

“We see that response as being a way to get us back to the table so the impacts actually don’t happen,” Morneau said.

Canada isn’t alone in its fight: The U.S. measures also struck other G7 nations — and those partners have returned fire with potential tariffs of their own.

The European Union is also planning a tariff counter strike and filed a request Friday for consultations with the World Trade Organization.

Bruno Le Maire, France’s economy and finance minister, said a G7 trade war should be avoided.

“On trade, this is a G6 plus one,” Le Maire said after stepping outside briefly from the talks. “We have been attacked by those tariffs. We do not have any other choice but to respond. We would have preferred not to take that kind of decision.”

Le Maire said U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wasn’t surprised when confronted about the tariffs inside the talks. The French official expressed hope that the discussion will lay the foundation for successful talks during next week’s summit of G7 national leaders in Quebec’s Charlevoix region.

“We think that the G7 (meetings) will be useful if at the end of the G7, the United States is aware of the possible negative consequences of their decision on the unity of the G7 — not only the economic unity, but also the political one,” Le Maire said.

Trump has said the tariffs are needed to protect U.S. steel and aluminum industries vital to the nation’s security.

Morneau has called that “absurd” because Canada is no security risk to the U.S., and he warned the tariffs will destroy jobs on both sides of the border.

He said he used a private, bilateral meeting Thursday in Whistler to personally deliver that message to Mnuchin. Morneau declined to share details about how Canada’s argument was received, but he predicted some sparks would fly during the talks.

“Clearly, that is going to be a difficult discussion,” he said.

The Associated Press

Just Posted

Strong turnout of volunteers to search for missing senior

Ted Vanderveen disappeared in rural Maple Ridge on Nov. 28

Search and Rescue team will take your Christmas tree

Drop off at Jim Robson Way location, or arrange pickup

Not raining on Santa’s parade tonight

Maple Ridge parade announcer says big crowds always appear, rain or shine

Not enough focus on economy in throne speech – Dalton

Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP supports leadership of Scheer

Going Green: A low emissions Christmas

‘Create memories, not garbage’

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

SkyTrain strike to begin Tuesday with ‘full shutdown’, CUPE says

BCRTC president says job action is ‘completely unacceptable’ to use SkyTrain users ‘as leverage’

Flames finally beat Sockeyes for third straight win

Junior Bs acquire high scoring forward from Island team

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

Owners of hotels on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside fight $1 expropriation in court

Vancouver City Council voted to expropriate the properties for $1 each in November

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Most Read