Ottawa to support steel and aluminum jobs by up to $2 billion following US tariffs

Jun 30 2018, 12:12 am

The federal government is offering big spending measures to help the Canadian steel, aluminum, and manufacturing industries weather the storm of the new American tariffs.

Earlier today, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland joined Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains and Employment and Labour Minister Patty Hajdu announced a number of initiatives and programs to help keep the jobs in Canada that have a value of up to $2 billion.

This is in response to US President Donald Trump’s imposition of high tariffs on the Canadian metal imports last month, with a 25% tariff placed on steel and a 10% tariff placed on aluminum.

“Canada has always been a safe, secure and reliable source of steel and aluminum for the U.S. market. The tariffs introduced by the United States on Canadian steel and aluminum are protectionist and illegal under WTO and NAFTA rules – the very rules that the United States helped to write,” said Freeland in a statement.

“It is with regret that we take these countermeasures, but the U.S. tariffs leave Canada no choice but to defend our industries, our workers and our communities, and we will remain firm in doing so. The real solution to this unfortunate and unprecedented dispute is for the United States to rescind its tariffs on our steel and aluminum.”

Today’s announced measures include:

  • The extension of Employment Insurance work-sharing programs by an additional 38 weeks
  • New funding to provinces and territories to increase job and training programs for workers affected by US tariffs
  • Offering liquidity support to affected businesses
  • Offering up to $250 million in new support to help Canadian manufacturers become more competitive and better integrate the supply chain of steel and aluminum
  • New spending of $50 million over five years to help Canadian companies diversify their exports

This adds to Canada’s $16.6 billion of retaliatory tariffs on steel, aluminum, and other products from the US, which will come into effect on July 1, 2018.

Ottawa maintains that the US enjoys a US$2 billion annual trade surplus on iron and steel products with Canada.

Canada also happens to buy more American steel than any country in the world, accounting for half of US exports of the product.

Trump, of course, has continuously personally insulted Trudeau ever since the Prime Minister’s comments on retaliatory tariffs following the G7 Summit earlier this month.

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