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Ottawa set to announce dollar-for-dollar tariffs amid Canada-U.S. aluminum dispute

Last Updated Sep 15, 2020 at 8:35 am PST

FILE -- Molten aluminum in a smelter is seen at the Alouette aluminum plant in Sept-Iles, Que., Tuesday, May 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Summary

Ottawa is expected to announce countermeasures against U.S. aluminum on Tuesday

The retaliatory tariffs come a month after the Trump White House reimposed tariffs on Canadian aluminum

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday it's time for action against 'unjust tariffs

OTTAWA – The ongoing aluminum dispute between Canada and the U.S. is about to kick up a notch.

The Trudeau government will be announcing retaliatory tariffs against American products on Tuesday, just more than a month after the Trump White House reimposed a 10 per cent tariff on Canadian aluminum. The U.S. cited national security risks after complaints from two U.S. smelting operations that Canada was violating the terms of a 2019 agreement between the two countries.

Ottawa has denied there is any concern to national security and had been trying to end this through talks. However, on his way into a two-day cabinet retreat, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it’s time for action against “unjust tariffs.”

“As I’ve said many times, we will always be there to defend Canadian workers,” he said. “We will defend our aluminum sector.”

It’s not yet clear what products will be hit with counter measures, but the list could include bicycles, beer and pop cans, appliances, and golf clubs.

The Trump administration announced the tariffs in the lead up to the U.S. presidential election. President Donald Trump took similar action during NAFTA negotiations, but got rid of them when a deal was in place.

On Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne said the federal government was still trying to cool the ongoing dispute with the U.S., but that Canada was ready to retaliate if necessary.

He also told reporters he believes the standoff is an opportunity to figure out new ways to bring manufacturing back to life across North America.

The announcement is expected to be made at noon PT.