Bill Kelly: In a trade war stare down, Trump backs down

Rolls of coiled coated steel at Stelco. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

There was a feeling of “here we go again” a few days ago when the Trump administration announced American tariffs on Canadian aluminum.

It’s the same political ploy that Trump used a couple of years ago to try to curry favour with some American manufacturers.

READ MORE: U.S. stands down on 10% aluminum tariffs imposed on Canada

But Donald Trump, who is clearly not the sharpest pencil in the box, didn’t understand that U.S. tariffs actually hurt American industries that rely on Canadian aluminum to manufacture their products, which begs the question, why repeat such a wrongheaded policy?

I won’t waste time attempting to apply logic to Trump’s policies, but suffice-to-say that many American industries and local politicians have been loud and vocal in their opposition about Trump’s idea to re-instate the aluminum tariffs.

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Within hours of Canada announcing retaliatory tariffs targeting specific American manufacturers, the Trump administration walked back its intent to apply those tariffs.

Click to play video: 'Tariff tiff: U.S. drops tariffs on Canadian aluminum'
Tariff tiff: U.S. drops tariffs on Canadian aluminum

So, why the change?

The obvious reason is that there is an election in a few weeks and Trump is trailing in many of the states that would have been impacted by Canada’s retaliatory sanctions.

Our Canadian economy can’t deliver a knockout punch to respond to Trump’s bully tactics, but we can kick them in the shins enough that American states will push back on Trump’s vindictive policies.

In this crucial economic stare down, it was the Trump administration that blinked and backed down.

That makes this a good day for the Trudeau government, and a good day for Canada.

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Bill Kelly is the host of the Bill Kelly Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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