The tariffs the United States have imposed on Canadian products — and Canada’s retaliation — stretch far beyond international politics: consumers could end up taking the brunt of the hit.
On Friday morning, the United States announced tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada. In response, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau imposed $16.6 billion worth of tariffs against U.S. imports.
The tariffs on steel and aluminium will mean higher costs on household items like kitchen utensils, watches, eyeglasses and broom handles. Vehicle production will also take a major hit.
Canada’s punitive tariffs are mainly on products that are produced domestically, but Manitoba’s Chambers of Commerce still called the retaliation a “lose-lose” for consumers on Friday.
“70 per cent of all Canadian exports are going to the U.S. and 78 of all of our imports are coming from the U.S.,” Chamber President and CEO Chuck Davidson said. “So look at the things that are made of steel and aluminium and if those costs are passed along to the maker, they’re going to pass the costs along to the consumer.
“At the end of the day, no one is going to win.”
“From a Manitoba perspective, we export about $10 billion of goods and services to the U.S. every year,” Davidson said. “In return, we’re importing close to $17 billion in goods and services.”
A full list of the products affected by Canada’s reactionary tariffs can be found here.
That list includes things like ketchup, mattresses, pens, whiskies and orange juice.
It is currently unclear what the punitive tariffs could mean for prices here at home, but experts said Friday the products could see a price bump if the back and forth between the two countries continues.