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

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Rec users are not entitled to access to range

DND land is excluded from local control, says letter writer

Foot ferry service in Nanaimo won’t happen this summer

Island Ferries says it still needs to secure funding

Goalie gear found in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Mounties want to return goalie gear to owner

Thieves steal tents meant for Nanaimo school’s Grade 7 camping trip

Businesses, staff and parents ensure trip goes on

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Strengthening privacy laws should be an election issue

In other places, political parties are held to the highest standards of openness, says letter writer

Timbermen beat league’s first-place team

Nanaimo’s senior A lacrosse team handles Maple Ridge Burrards 11-6

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Suggested street names bizarre

Letter writer would be mortified to live on any of Lantzville councillor’s bizarrely named streets

Complex with more than 200 apartments pitched for Nanaimo’s south end

Construction planned for next spring on Junction Avenue in Chase River

Nanaimo teachers’ union president worries new deal could see job losses

Teachers’ federation and Ministry of Education negotiating with contract expiring at month’s end

Historian recalls Nanaimo’s drunken disorder back in 1890

Imagine the seamen’s surprise when they found themselves inside a brewery, writes columnist

WITH VIDEO: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

With three new pups born in May, two more Vancouver Island Marmots… Continue reading

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Most Read