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Canada Plans Retaliation For Steel Tariff

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

The Trump administration is telling the Sunday talk shows that Canada won’t be excluded from anticipated tariffs on steel and aluminum, while Canadian officials are contemplating retaliation to the tariffs.

As the Financial Post reports, Trump’s trade advisor Peter Navarro hinted that some industries might be exempt.

“There’ll be an exemption procedure for particular cases where we need to have exemptions so business can move forward,” Navarro told CNN.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was not optimistic about President Donald Trump changing his mind over blanket tariffs.

“[Trump] has made a decision at this point. If he for some reason should change his mind, then it’ll change. I have no reason to believe he’s going to change his mind,” Ross told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Navarro also appeared with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” where he was grilled over how the U.S. could use obscure national security legislation to invoke tariffs against Canada when the two countries are close military allies with numerous cross-border defense agreements. Navarro refused to answer Wallace’s question, “Are trade wars good?”

Even some within the U.S. military are echoing concerns about targeting Canada. U.S. Army Brig. Gen. John Adams noted “the one supplier in whom I have complete confidence is Canada,” adding that Canada should reflect U.S. policy on foreign exports.

Meanwhile, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau told CTV’s “Question Period” Sunday that Canada is ready to retaliate if it is included in the tariffs.

“We clearly have said that this is important to maintain the ability for us to trade back and forth… And obviously we’re going to be firm. We’re going to say that this is not an acceptable possibility for us to put tariffs on an important commodity like steel and aluminum.”

Canada sells $15 billion a year of steel and aluminum to the the U.S., making it the number one exporter to the American market.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued an objection to the tariffs last week that critics say hasn’t helped Canada’s case:

Morneau said Sunday that Canada will re-state its position on the 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum, and if the U.S. doesn’t blink, they will consider other options.

“We’ve clearly said that we’re prepared to react.” Morneau did not specify what that reaction might be, saying the government was still focusing on getting Canada exempt from any tariffs at this point.

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