Address by the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the United States


Check against delivery. This speech has been translated in accordance with the Government of Canada’s official languages policy and edited for posting and distribution in accordance with its communications policy.

May 31, 2018 - Ottawa, Canada

The United States’ decision to impose tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum shipments is totally unacceptable.

In response to these measures, Canada intends to impose tariffs on imports of steel, aluminum and other products from the United States—representing the total value of 2017 Canadian exports affected by the U.S. measures. That is $16.6 billion. We are imposing dollar-for-dollar tariffs for every dollar levied against Canadians by the United States.

25 percent and 10 percent are the tariff rates imposed today by the United States on Canada. 

We are today publishing two lists of goods: one list that will be subject to a 25% tariff; a second list that will be subject to a 10% tariff. These countermeasures will only apply to goods originating from the United States. These countermeasures will take effect on July 1, 2018, and will remain in place until the United States eliminates its trade-restrictive measures against Canada.

Our steel and aluminum workers have our government’s full support. That is why we have included American steel and aluminum products in our lists. As for the other products listed today, we have ensured these can be easily sourced from Canadian companies or non-U.S. trade partners, in an effort to avoid any costs being passed on to Canadian families and consumers.

We are today beginning a 15-day consultation period with Canadians so they may express support for, or concerns about, the proposed countermeasures and the list of goods. These lists of goods will be made available publicly, immediately, and online for all Canadians.

The unilateral trade restrictions by the United States are also in violation of NAFTA and WTO trade rules. Canada will therefore launch dispute-settlement proceedings under NAFTA Chapter 20 and WTO Dispute Settlement. Canada will also closely collaborate with like-minded WTO members, including the European Union, to challenge these illegal and counterproductive U.S. measures at the WTO.

It is entirely inappropriate to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States. 

I want Canadians to know that their government will always stand up for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses. 

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