In The Media

Aluminum and steel tariffs: How Canada should react to Donald Trump

by Paul Wells (feat. Jocelyn Coulon)

Maclean’s
May 31, 2018

Chrystia Freeland was on yet another flight to Washington this week to try to keep the Trump administration from slapping arbitrary tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. Well, the nominal topic was NAFTA, but it was obvious tariffs would be on the agenda too. Before the foreign minister’s trip I dashed off a snotty and unhelpful tweet:

But snotty doesn’t mean inaccurate! Of course the minister came home empty-handed. She “left empty-handed,” the Canadian Press wrote. And this morning, after meeting Kim Kardashian to discuss prison reform and announcing he’ll pardon a deeply self-amused career racist, the President announced he’ll end an exemption for Canada and the EU for his aluminum and steel tariffs.

The Prime Minister and Freeland will announce Canada’s response today. Surely it will contain elements of reprisal designed to add hurt on top of the self-inflicted hurt that comes from making it more expensive to get steel and aluminum in the U.S. Economists will leap into action, explaining that tariffs are inevitably self-punitive, and that Canada shouldn’t get into a tit-for-tat with an economy 10 times larger and, currently, vastly more random in its actions.

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