Published: Sun, June 03, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Republicans rebuff Trump on new tariffs

Republicans rebuff Trump on new tariffs

President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said in a statement: "The EU believes these unilateral US tariffs are unjustified and at odds with World Trade Organisation rules".

The United States had sought to use the tariff threat as a cudgel to win concessions from Canada and Mexico in talks to renegotiate NAFTA, offering the two USA neighbors a permanent exemption if they agreed to US demands.

Canada filed a complaint at the World Trade Organization in response to "illegal" USA tariffs on imports of Canadian steel and aluminum, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said.

Trudeau also discussed NAFTA talks, saying Canada, the USA and Mexico had come so close to a deal he had offered to meet President Donald Trump in Washington.

"It's hard to imagine how you negotiate with a knife to your throat", said Jean Simard, president of the Aluminum Association of Canada.

No joint final statement emerged from the G7 ministerial meeting, a sign of the strong discord as the world's major economies verged on open trade conflict.

President Donald Trump suggested Friday the United States might pursue separate free trade agreements with Canada and Mexico to replace the 24-year-old three-nation NAFTA pact.

The EU has already started a case against the U.S. at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva, although this route may take many months to reach a conclusion.

Trudeau wrote on Twitter: "American tariffs on Canadian aluminum & steel are unacceptable. Do Timber & Lumber in US?"

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G7 governments were also digesting Trump's threats to impose tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. auto imports on purported national security grounds.

"We should not ever agree to blackmail of the nature that was proposed here", said Beatty, who was a federal cabinet minister at the time of the original Canada-U.S. free trade negotiation that produced NAFTA's precursor.

"The effect of tariffs is going to be to increase unemployment very sharply because now aluminum and steel are going to be sold not to America, but to manufacturers in Asia and in Europe, and they can now produce their manufactures with lower-priced aluminum and lower-priced steel and undersell American manufacturers", he added.

Tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium were imposed on the EU, Canada and Mexico from Friday.

He said: "There could potentially be thousands of job losses". She dismissed the argument that the tariffs were needed for United States national security reasons, saying: "Internal security is not relevant".

Canada had earlier announced retaliatory tariffs on a range of USA imports, including maple syrup and ballpoint pens.

She said: "We are not seeking to escalate any situation but we need to respond and we'll do so in a measured manner, but not responding would be the same as accepting these tariffs which we consider are illegal".

Regarding the dispute with the United States, the EU says in a document submitted to the WTO that US tariff measures "adversely affect exports of these goods from the European Union to the United States".

Mr Trump originally imposed the tariffs in March, saying a reliance on imported metals threatened national security.

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