Trade and International Affairs

Canada’s unions support Canadian retaliation against American steel and aluminum tariffs

June 1, 2018

Canada’s unions today applauded the Canadian Government’s retaliation against the unjustified and unwarranted American tariffs on steel and aluminum.

“I am pleased to see Canada respond so quickly and decisively to defend Canadian workers and industry against President Trump’s bullying tactics. Canada cannot waver in its defence of balanced trade,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff.

Today, Canada announced plans to stand up to sweeping American tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada. Canada’s plans include new surtaxes and other targeted measures on steel, aluminum and other imports from the U.S. amounting to $16.6 billion, the value of total Canadian exports of steel and aluminum to the U.S. in 2017. These surtaxes are set to take effect on July 1st, 2018 and will remain in place until U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs are dropped.

“Trump’s aggressive trade provocations against Canada are a totally unjustified and unwarranted sanction against a fair-trading ally,” said Yussuff. “The implications of Trump’s tariffs will be felt on both sides of the border, but in Canada, it will impact the lives of more than 20,000 workers directly employed by the industry, and another 100,000 indirectly employed workers.”

Every year, Canada exports $6 billion worth of steel products to the U.S., and, because of the integrated nature of the North American steel industry, imports steel products of the same value from the U.S. Last year, Canada exported $9.3 billion worth of aluminum products to the United States. Canada’s steel industry is also responsible for millions of dollars worth of research and development throughout the economy.

“Unfair and one-sided trade tactics cannot be allowed to undermine Canadian workers and industry,” said Yussuff. “In the days and weeks ahead, Canada’s unions will be calling on the Canadian and provincial governments to assist Canadian workers and steel and aluminum manufacturers who will need support to maintain their livelihoods and stay in business until this dispute can be resolved.”

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