OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is rejecting calls to speed up the imposition of retaliatory tariffs on US steel and aluminum.
Trudeau says he wants to respect the government’s 30-day consultation period on its proposed $16.6-billion tariff package, retaliation for the Trump administration’s decision to impose 25 per cent import duties on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum.
This comes after he sat down with the Canadian Steel Producers Association amid the ongoing dispute, who asked that he and the federal government take quicker action to place duties on American steel and aluminum products to level the playing field.
“We’re going to have a conversation going forward about how quickly this can be accomplished,” Association President Joseph Galimberti says, adding Trudeau was understanding. “We want the list to be right, but we want it to be in place quickly.”
Asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau if there will be a financial support package for steel and aluminum workers.
His response: “We continue to work with industry and with partners in making sure that everyone’s okay.” #cdnpoli
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) June 4, 2018
Galimberti says he did not ask for any bailout for companies or financial aid for workers, saying ‘we are not at that point yet.’
“I don’t think we’re there in terms of specifics yet, I’m sure the government would be willing to have that discussion if we get there.”
Earlier in the day and without getting into any specifics, Employment Minister Patty Hajdu had said many options are being considered.
“You know, we’re always going to stand up for Canadian workers and we’ll be looking at a full range of supports for people that are affected.”
Meantime, the NDP’s Tracey Ramsey was critical of the lack of details, suggesting the government is dragging its feet when it should be taking immediate action.
“It’s about coming out and saying that they have a plan for working people, and that’s what’s lacking right now,” she says.
In American media over the weekend, Trudeau called the tariffs “insulting”. Meantime, the six other nations at the G7 finance ministers meeting denounced the decision and called on the US to back down.
The Trudeau government has already unveiled retaliatory tariffs and filed complaints through NAFTA and the World Trade Organization.
President Donald Trump is set to make his first official visit to Canada on Friday for the G7 summit in Quebec. His tariff decision is expected to overshadow other policy discussions, and raise tensions at the table when the world leaders begin their meeting.