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

How many volunteers does it take to run a hockey team?

Meet the momma bears who make the Revelstoke Grizzlies’ games happen

Niedermayer jersey retirement ceremony a dream come true

Penticton minor hockey players bring home memories of a lifetime from Niedermayer jersey retirement

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

UPDATE: Tractor trailer overturned on Highway 3A near Yellow Lake

Drivers may be wise to plan an alternate route as crews will need to recover the truck

Highway one will be closed tomorrow for avalanche control near Golden

The closure is expected to last for two hours

Branching out: learning to ski at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

It’s the first time at the hill for the editor of Revelstoke Review

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

Pool plans disappoint Shuswap swim clubs

Salmon Arm mayor assures options for city rec centre only preliminary

Vehicle fire on Coquihalla near Kamloops

A large plume of smoke could be seen rising into the sky over Highway 5

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Shuswap children’s organizations offer mixed reviews on Budget 2019

Concern over long waitlists, early intervention funding, but relief child care funds are included

Winter storm freezes U.S., halts air travel

Storm dumps snow or heavy rain, snarls travel in much of U.S.

Top blues talent joins festival roster

Salmon Arm’s Roots and Blues adds stellar Canadian acts to 2019 event

Most Read