Canada considers topping up tariffs on US goods

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Ottawa is considering adding to its list of retaliatory tariffs to crank up pressure on Washington to drop aluminium and steel levies. (AFP pic)

OTTAWA: Canada is considering adding to its list of retaliatory tariffs to crank up pressure on Washington to drop aluminium and steel levies, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Tuesday.

“We are looking at… ways we can refresh the retaliation list to have an even greater impact,” Freeland told reporters in Ottawa.

Last July, Canada hit back at the United States with retaliatory tariffs on C$16.6 billion (US$12.5 billion) in American goods, including orange juice, ketchup and bourbon.

This followed President Donald Trump’s 25% tariffs on imports of steel products and 10% on aluminium.

David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to Washington, reportedly told agriculture journalists in Washington on Monday that a “significant number” of US agricultural products such as apples, pork and wine could make the updated list.

But the move should not be interpreted as an escalation in the trade spat, he was quoted by Politico as saying.

Rather, MacNaughton explained, the added items would make up for a shortfall in the dollar-for-dollar tariffs created when Canada waived tariffs on more than C$285 million in US goods.

Last month, Freeland said Ottawa wouldn’t ratify a new continental trade deal with the United States and Mexico until the US steel and aluminium tariffs were removed.

“When it comes to the 232 tariffs on steel and aluminium it’s important to be very clear that Canada has from the outset considered these tariffs to be illegal and unjust,” Freeland said Tuesday.

“Frankly they are absurd.”