Freeland calls U.S. aluminum tariffs ‘absurd’

Raw aluminum ingots. © Can Stock Photo / razvanmatei

Canada’s deputy prime minister is not holding back her anger after the U.S. once again imposed a tariff on Canadian aluminum.

In a news conference Friday in Ottawa, Chrystia Freeland vowed payback after the Trump administration imposed a 10 per cent tariff on aluminum brought into the U.S. from Canada. Freeland said the duty is only going to hurt hard-working Americans.

“The United States has taken the absurd decision to harm its own people at a time when its economy is suffering the deepest crisis since the Great Depression,” said Freeland, as reported by Global News.

President Donald Trump made the announcement during a campaign stop Thursday in Ohio, as part of the government’s “Buy American” initiative.

“Several months ago, my administration agreed to lift those tariffs in return for a promise from the Canadian government that its aluminum industry would not flood our country with exports and kill all our aluminum jobs, which is exactly what they did,” said Trump, according to a transcript provided by the official White House website. “Canadian aluminum producers have broken that commitment, and the U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, has advised me that this step to re-impose tariffs is absolutely necessary to defend our aluminum industry.”

Freeland is not buying that argument.

“Let me be clear. Canadian aluminum is in no way a threat to U.S. national security, which remains the ostensible reason for this, and that is a ludicrous notion,” Freeland said.

On Thursday, Freeland had promised to implement what she called counter-measures against the U.S. to strike back against the tariff. The economic impact is believed to be valued at $3.6 billion.

The opposition Conservatives have also sounded off, criticizing the Trudeau Liberals for failing to protect Canadian aluminum workers.

“The Trudeau government must immediately retaliate and send a clear message to the U.S. that we will not restrict our exports,” read a statement put out Thursday by the party. “Unfortunately, the Trudeau government has put Canada in a weaker position to combat these tariffs, after the concessions they made during the last round of American trade action. Canada can only retaliate on like products, putting our country at a strategic disadvantage.

The Ontario government has also criticized the Trump administration, agreeing that the tariffs will only hurt American businesses and consumers during the economic slowdown.