March 24, 2018

European Union slams trade 'bullies' as Trump tariffs row deepens

13 March 2018, 10:46 | Kara Nash

Canada will not bend to US steel tariff pressure in NAFTA talks, says Freeland

Justin Trudeau to kick off tour of steel, aluminum factories in Quebec amid uncertainty over Trump's tariffs

This form of processing allows it to be stamped "made in Canada" and could avoid the US tariff, which is why the federal enforcement officials will need to identify the country of origin of the original steel, said one industry executive who asked that his name not be used because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

"We are anxious (about) the possibility of having a trade war between the United States and the European Union because we believe that there will be only losers".

"Protectionism is always a political error, a historical error", said Spanish Economy Minister Roman Escolano as he arrived for regular talks in Brussels with his eurozone counterparts.

Mr Trump said last Thursday that he is slapping tariffs of 25% on imported steel and 10% on aluminium. However, the president exempted Canada and Mexico from trade sanctions.

Joseph Galimberti says Canada has to work very quickly to identify possible attempts to circumvent the US tariffs by sneaking steel in through Canada and must be prepared to act to stop this. It has threatened to slap retaliatory duties on around 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) worth of US steel, agricultural and other products like peanut butter and orange juice if it is not excluded from the tariff regime.

Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said the tariffs are "a bad idea".

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President Donald Trump on Monday said US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will talk to European Union representatives about lowering their tariffs and other barriers to US products. "It is bad for European citizens, for Dutch citizens and it will turn out bad for USA citizens as well".

Fears of a trade war have driven price up to almost double in some cases in the USA, which means Lester will take a big hit for the next couple of years for projects alrealy in his pipeline. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem held talks on Saturday with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in an effort to understand Trump's exemptions, but she said she got "no immediate clarity on the exact U.S. procedure".

Mr. Trudeau said his government is working hard to ensure that the exemptions stay in place and took issue with the U.S. President's decision to use the tariffs as a bargaining chip.

Mr. Trudeau also took Canada's case to USA cable channels on Monday with appearances on MSNBC and CNN.

Freeland is headed to New York Monday to host an event on Canada's Elsie Initiative for Women in Peacekeeping, which aims to increase the number of women deployed as part of peacekeeping forces around the world.

Asked again about Trump's approach, if the tariffs are a negotiating tactic by Trump, Trudeau again moved past the potential threat. Experts largely blame overproduction by China for that.

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