Published: Mon, June 04, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

United States singled out by G7 allies over steel and aluminium tariffs

United States singled out by G7 allies over steel and aluminium tariffs

Canada's finance minister has said he is hopeful the threat of retaliation against USA trade measures will persuade the Trump administration to back away from the steel and aluminium tariffs it has imposed on its G7 allies. Initially announced in March, the levies took effect Friday.

Trump used national security concerns to justify imposing tariffs, which Morneau has called "absurd".

Speaking on NBC's Meet the Press, Trudeau reiterated his appeal to President Trump to remember "there are no two countries that are as interconnected, interdependent".

The G-7 comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the US's tariffs "totally unacceptable" and "an affront to the longstanding security partnership" between the states and Canada.

Trudeau added that he does not know what Trump wants Canada to do in order to remove the tariffs, because the US actually exports more steel to Canada than Canada sends to the USA, and when it comes to oversupply from China, Canada is on the same page as Trump. Officials have said cheese, whiskey, orange juice and dozens of other items will be targeted, many from states that Trump won in 2016 in an effort to pressure him to reverse course.

The United States, Trump said, was negotiating numerous deals, adding, "We're talking about NAFTA". "But we're also putting a number of tariffs on consumer goods, finished products for which Canadians have easy alternatives".

And look, the American worker agrees with me. "So it's not like the trade is imbalanced against the USA favor on this one", Trudeau said.

Tariffs will hurt jobs and prosperity on both sides of the border, he added - and he wants Americans to understand that.

Other allies have denounced the tariffs in similarly harsh terms.

On Friday, for example, Maine Congressional members urged Trump not to put a tariff on seafood because they are anxious the Chinese would retaliate with a similar measure and hurt the state's lobster industry, which exports millions of dollars worth of lobster to the Asian country.

"Economic nationalism leads to war", he warned. At his closing press conference, Mnuchin said he's already conveyed the G-7 message to Trump, who he said "has been very clear in wanting to address trade issues".

Trump has regularly complained that other countries impose higher tariffs on imported vehicles than the US does. The tariffs are unusual because they target some of America's closest allies.

At the same time, a Trump aide said Trudeau was "overreacting".

"Our soldiers fought and died together in the beaches of the Second World War, in the Afghanistan mountains and have been shoulder by shoulder in some of the world's most hard places, always being there for one another, it is an insult to that", he added.

Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, tells reporters Friday that he remains optimistic about the outcome of negotiations with Canada, Europe and Mexico in spite of recent escalations. The said tariffs came into force on Thursday midnight. "And I would just say to all of Canada's American friends - and there are so many - seriously?"

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