Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Canada’s most-awarded
newsroom for a reason
Stay informed for a
lot less, cancel anytime
“Exemplary reporting on
COVID-19” – Herman L
per week
for 24 weeks
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks during a press conference in Toronto on Aug. 7, 2020.

The Canadian Press

The federal government will impose retaliatory measures valued at $3.6-billion on the United States in response to new tariffs on Canadian aluminum that President Donald Trump announced this week.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the retaliatory tariffs will take effect in 30 days, after Ottawa consults Canadians on what to target.

Canada is releasing a list of possible products, many of which include aluminum, such as washing machines, refrigerators and golf clubs. Canadians will have until Sept. 6 to send comments to the finance department.

Story continues below advertisement

After Canada has chosen the targets, the tariffs will go into effect on Sept. 16.

“A trade dispute is the last thing anyone needs,” Ms. Freeland said. “It will only hurt an economic recovery on both sides of the border. However, this is what the U.S. administration has chosen to do.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said on Friday that he understands that the Americans are also planning tariffs on Canadian steel. Ms. Freeland declined to directly comment on this, but didn’t rule it out.

“I have long believed that with this administration, the best Canadian policy is hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”

She blamed Mr. Trump for this decline in Canada-U.S. relations.

“This administration is the most protectionist administration in U.S. history,” Ms. Freeland said.

The U.S. tariffs take effect on Aug. 16 and apply to raw aluminum, which the White House says accounted for 59 per cent of Canadian exports of the metal to the U.S. over the past year. Mr. Trump is imposing them under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, which allows the President to use tariffs for “national security” purposes. Mr. Trump has frequently used Section 232 to circumvent international trade rules, such as those of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the World Trade Organization.

Story continues below advertisement

“The final tariffs that we impose will be, as I said, perfectly reciprocal, dollar for dollar, and the total amount will be $3.6-billion,” Ms. Freeland said.

The new trade battle is erupting during a difficult presidential re-election campaign for Mr. Trump.

Ms. Freeland said the possible targets were chosen because they would inflict “minimal damage on Canada with strongest possible impact on the United States. We do hope when Americans look at this list, they will understand why having a tariff dispute is a really bad idea.”

The idea that Canadian aluminum is a threat to U.S. national security ludicrous, she added.

Mr. Ford said Mr. Trump would not stop at aluminum tariffs.

“There’s 40 categories of steel they’re going to go and tack on a certain percentage,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Ford said he spoke with Robert Lighthizer, Mr. Trump’s trade chief, about the aluminum tariffs in recent days. However, he did not specify who told him to expect steel tariffs.

Two industry sources with knowledge of confidential trade discussions between the U.S. and Canada said there had been some cursory talk of new steel tariffs. But the sources said it has not gone far. Unlike aluminum smelters, which raised Mr. Trump’s ire by pumping out raw aluminum to make up for the pandemic-induced fall in demand for more specific metal products, steel producers reduced production, the sources said, leaving the President no reason to target them.

The Globe and Mail is not identifying the sources because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the confidential discussions.

Mr. Ford urged consumers to buy locally made goods, and retailers and manufacturers to put “made-in-Ontario” and “made-in-Canada” stickers on products.

The Premier also expressed disappointment with Mr. Trump.

“In times like these, who tries to go after your closest ally, your closest trading partner, your No. 1 customer in the entire world? Well, President Trump did this,” he said. “He comes and backstabs us like this.”

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Ford said he delivered this message to Mr. Lighthizer. “We will come back swinging like they’ve never seen before,” the Premier said he told the trade chief.

The Premier has previously expressed admiration for Mr. Trump, and supported him during the 2016 election campaign.

Earlier this week, at a washing-machine factory in Ohio, Mr. Trump accused industry north of the border of trying to “kill all our aluminum jobs” with a “flood” of exports.

The United States produces about a third of the aluminum necessary to meet its demand. This means U.S. businesses and consumers will have to pay the tariff or find other foreign sources, such as Russia.

Canadian aluminum sales to the United States totalled US$8.4-billion in 2017, the last full year without tariffs, accounting for 80 per cent of Canada’s exports of the metal.

The President imposed tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel in 2018.

Story continues below advertisement

Two U.S. companies have lobbied Mr. Trump to reimpose tariffs, arguing that aluminum imports from Canada have surged since they were lifted. But Canadian metals producers, as well as most of the U.S. industry, say overall imports from Canada are comparable to their levels before the tariffs.

There is significant opposition to the Trump tariffs from U.S. business.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice-president Myron Brilliant called the aluminum tariffs “a step in the wrong direction” in a statement this week.

“These tariffs will raise costs for American manufacturers, are opposed by most U.S. aluminum producers, and will draw retaliation against U.S. exports — just as they did before. We urge the administration to reconsider this move.”

Senior Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said on Twitter that using a section of trade law meant for threats to national security to enact the tariffs “is ridiculous [because] beer cans are not defense weapons.”

In talks between the two countries in recent weeks, Mr. Lighthizer demanded Canada agree to aluminum-export quotas to avoid renewed tariffs, The Globe reported earlier this week, but Ottawa refused to accept quotas.

Story continues below advertisement

With a report from Laura Stone at Queen’s Park

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the authors of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies