Canada ready with list of possible targets if Trump’s steel tariffs go into effect
All that is left is for the government to pick which one they want to hit.
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Two government sources laid out to Global News how officials plan to respond to any imposition of steep new tariffs by the American president this Friday, when the current exemption extension granted last month is set to run out unless a new one can be secured.
Under those tariffs, foreign imports of steel and aluminum face levies of 25 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.
Canada first secured a temporary month-long exemption when the tariffs were announced in March, then again in April.
Officials have discussed a range of options in preparation for several possible outcomes and will likely not slap immediate retaliatory measures into place.
Instead, the government will make a public announcement of its intention to act shortly after any decision not to continue the exemptions and then head into a series of meetings with relevant ministers and premiers to decide which of their prepared options to implement.
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The reason no specific plan is expected to slap into place is that officials are still trying to figure out what will happen next.
Trump could announce a full implementation of the sanctions, another temporary exemption or a permanent exemption.
And despite there being just slightly more than 24 hours until the deadline, it is not clear which option he will pick.
So, Canadian officials want to keep theirs open.
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The threat of tariffs comes as the pressure to reach a deal on NAFTA intensifies.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland was scheduled to be in Washington on both Tuesday and Wednesday for those negotiations.
However, she cut her trip short and returned to Ottawa on Wednesday morning.
Trump is also now threatening to impose steep new tariffs on imported cars in an attempt to get Canada and Mexico to cave to his demands, and has directed U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to launch an investigation into whether auto imports pose a national security threat.
He has hinted Canada and Mexico could secure more permanent exemptions from his tariffs by capitulating to his demands on NAFTA.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on the other hand, pushed back at those threats as “negotiating tactics” on Tuesday and said Canada would rather have no deal than a bad deal.
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