Canadian finance minister: Trump tariff rationale 'absurd'

Jean-Claude Juncker

Meanwhile, in Washington, US President, Donald Trump floated the possibility of scrapping the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement in favor of separate bilateral deals with Canada and Mexico.

It also requested a review of the U.S. measures under the North American Free Trade Agreement Chapter 20 trade dispute mechanism.

But on Thursday, Trudeau took on an unfamiliar role: that of Trump critic, The Atlantic writes.The occasion was the announcement that day that the USA would impose tariffs of 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and the European Union.

A leading American trade lawyer said the window for serious NAFTA negotiations has simply closed for the year because it has been overtaken by the political calendar.

French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement Friday that he told Trump in a phone call that the new US tariffs on European, Mexican and Canadian goods are illegal and a "mistake".

Despite worldwide objection, the USA administration decided in March to impose a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum imports.

"This is not the way we do business, and certainly not between longstanding partners, friends and allies", EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said. He said Canada was America's "most steadfast ally" in war and peace, calling the tariffs "an affront to the ... thousands of Canadians who have fought and died alongside American comrades-in-arms".

Sachs predicted that Trump's actions would have an overall negative effect on the US dollar, and would lead to a rapid increase in the nation's debt.

"We have to keep things in proportion", he said on the French radio station France Info.

He said G7 officials expressed concern to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during the session on trade that the U.S. tariffs posed a risk to global economic growth.

The United States, the world's biggest steel importer, will impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico from midnight on Friday (0400 GMT).

Washington and Beijing have been exchanging threats for months, announcing plans for tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of each others' exports. "As we have said, we will always stand up for our workers, and today we're announcing retaliatory measures to this attack on our industry".

The Trump administration upped the stakes ahead of Ross' expected visit by saying Tuesday it planned to forge ahead with tariffs on about $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, as well as measures to restrict Chinese investment in the United States.

The Trump administration argues the tariffs are limited and created to save America's ailing metals industry, which is needed for defence and national security reasons.

In retaliation for the tariffs imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum, Trudeau announced Thursday that Canada will impose $16.6 billion worth of "countermeasures" that hit a range of USA products, from flat-rolled steel to playing cards.

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