Our northern neighbor celebrated its national day today with a nationalistic response to the tariffs that President Trump unexpectedly and unilaterally imposed upon one of our previously closest allies.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began the retaliation on this auspicious and symbolic day with retaliatory tariffs on nearly $13 billion worth of U.S. products, including a 25% tariff on American steel products and a 10% levy on goods ranging from whiskey to toffee, maple syrup, coffee beans, and strawberry jam.
The move was a tit for tat response to the steel and aluminum tariffs Trump imposed on Canada exactly one month ago in an unprovoked and harmful change in trade policy after falsely claiming that the U.S. has a trade deficit with Canada.
The actual fact of the matter is that when goods and services are tallied, The United States had a $12.5 billion trade surplus with Canada, according to 2016 statistics.
Prime Minister Trudeau and his trade ministers have tried to resolve the tariffs dispute on multiple occasions with the U.S. trade representative before the measure took effect today, but were unable to reach an agreement. Trudeau expressed his reluctance to be forced to retaliate, but indicated that he would not be intimidated and wouldn’t back down and demonstrate subservience.
“I have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing but it is something that we absolutely will do,” the Canadian Prime Minister said.
As Trump’s trade war begins, not just with Canada as a target, but with the EU, China, Japan, and South Korea, American consumers can now expect the tariffs to cause a rise in inflation as the cost of many basic goods that are made wholly or partially abroad reflect the new charges, eliminating any small gains they have received as the crumbs left over from the Republican tax giveaway to the ultra wealthy.
Once again Trump’s incomprehensible strategy on trade will wind up hurting his own supporters the most as Canada and other nations consider targeting their retaliatory trade moves at the states and industries that have supported Trump the most.
It’s difficult to blame Canada for defending itself against the president’s offensive maneuver in the trade wars, but it’s particularly fitting that they chose their own national day as the start of their retaliation.
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