Hurting Our Allies
On Thursday, the Trump administration said it would impose steep tariffs on imported metals coming from its closest allies. Not too surprisingly, the Trump Administration’s combative approach has provoked retaliation against American businesses and consumers, and strained diplomatic ties. Canada, the EU, and Mexico, will have to deal with 25% tariffs on steel and 10% on aluminum. These countries reacted quickly, denouncing the action and instituting tit-for-tat measures. Measures designed to retaliate against the metals tariffs, and consequently punishing farmers and various other U.S. industries These actions follow months of chaos as the Trump administration teased allies with potential exemptions in return for concessions. The U.S. tariffs were imposed on national security grounds.
The Bank of Canada’s deputy Governor, Sylvain Leduc, described his perspective of the situation, “For a small, open economy like Canada, where trade is important, those measures are not the type of measures that are conducive to a good environment.”
Tweeting several times on Saturday, the president wrote that the U.S. cannot lose a trade war, declaring unfair trade cannot be tolerated. In response, Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, called the new tariffs both “insulting and unacceptable,” and argued President Trump’s actions mark a turning point in the two nations relationship. Trudeau went on to suggest Canada was not a national security threat to the United States.
Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, said, “Well, look, what I would say there is, this is an unprecedented use of Section 232, which is the “national security consideration under which these tariffs are being levied. As a matter of U.S. law, Canada is considered a part of the national defense industrial base. We have been allies and have been working together for 150 years.
“When Jim Mattis unveiled the national defense strategy at the beginning of the year, Secretary Mattis, the secretary of defense, he said something really powerful, which is that history proves that nations with allies thrive. That is 100 percent true. And so I would just really say to our closest allies in the world, you, the United States, please think hard about the message you are sending to your closest allies.”