OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – It appears President Donald Trump is hoping to stoke more divisions and confrontations as he plans to head to this week’s G7 summit being held in Charlevoix, Quebec — and Canada is in his cross hairs.
Trump was already going to be facing criticisms at the summit, but this may take it to another level.
According to the Washington Post, the White House is not happy the Trudeau government is placing counter duties on US imports, and is now considering imposing new financial penalties against Canada in the ongoing tariff dispute. It adds the president may refuse to sign any final agreements at the summit.
The reports do not say what types of penalties are being looked at.
However, Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland says Canada has not received any formal — or informal — notification.
“I was in Washington yesterday and Monday. We have heard nothing,” she says. “Having said that, as we have said from the beginning, Canada believes in hoping for the best and preparing for the worst and we are absolutely prepared for really everything.”
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The Trump administration imposed 25 and 10 per cent tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum and the Trudeau government responded with dollar for dollar counter duties which are set to kick in July 1.
“We announced on Thursday the strongest trade action Canada has taken since the Second World War,” explains Freeland. “An important part of getting it right is our 15 day consultation period. We are already hearing — my inbox is full — feedback from industry. The prime minister and I spoke on Monday with the provinces and territories and had some specific feedback.
Earlier Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged there will be tough discussions at the table about tariffs.
“And that’s what the G7 is very much for. An opportunity for friends and allies to come together and have a direct conversation.”
This all comes as the White House also tries to push for bilateral trade deals with Canada and Mexico instead of the current NAFTA talks. It’s something Trudeau is dismissing.
“Canada’s position is, and always has been, that the tri-lateral approach is actually better for Canada, for Mexico, and for the United States.”
The economy and trade will be the first topic discussed at the two day meeting, and could disrupt work on other key initiatives.