Canadian PM Trudeau said “We will always stand up for our aluminum workers”
Justin Trudeau tweeted: “We will always stand up for our aluminum workers”.
“Canada was taking advantage of us, as usual.” The US President Donald Trump said on August 6th at a factory in Ohio. He announced that the US will impose a 10% tariff on some aluminum products imported from Canada. Canadian products exported to the United States pose a “threat to US national security”.
The Canadian side responded quickly. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canada will take countermeasures and impose tariffs on American products.
In response to the American tariffs announced today, Canada will impose countermeasures that will include dollar-for-dollar retaliatory tariffs. We will always stand up for our aluminum workers. We did so in 2018 and we will stand up for them again now. https://t.co/gYH0ziOVM4
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) August 6, 2020
The US tariff on Canadian aluminum products is neither new nor surprising. As early as June 2018, the US government imposed a 25 percent tariff on imports of aluminum from Canada on the grounds of “national security”. After nearly a year of confrontation, the United States agreed in May 2019 to lift tariffs on Canadian aluminum in order to get Congress to ratify the Canada-US-Mexico agreement. And just as the agreement was about to enter into force, however, the US government announced that the White House was planning to reinstate tariffs on Canadian aluminum in June. Trudeau has publicly expressed his displeasure and has been absent from the celebration of the Canada-US-Mexico agreement.
From the twists and turns of the trade dispute between the United States and Canada, we can clearly see that the United States is becoming more and more unscrupulous in order to maximize its own interests, while Canada is bullied by close allies but at a loss.
Trump’s path to anti-globalization
Since the Trump administration took office, it has held high the banner of national priority and led the United States on the path of anti-globalization. The US government’s unilateralist “big stick” swung toward China, hurting Japan, stinging Germany, and angering the European Union. Canada, which linked to the US economy closely, is hardly immune.
During the negotiation process of the Canada-US-Mexico Agreement, the Donald Trump administration asked Canada to make concessions in softwood, beef and mutton products, dairy products, steel industry, and automobile industry. It also called for the abolition of the North American Free Trade Agreement’s trade dispute settlement mechanism related terms. This means that Canada will not only be forced to concession to American companies in these important economic sectors, but also bear the huge risks brought about by the dislocation of the dispute settlement mechanism.
Due to the high degree of asymmetry in the economic reliance structure of the United States and Canada, Canada inherently lacks topic setting and bargaining power on bilateral economic and trade issues. Coupled with the use of tariff pressure by the United States, Canada only has the option of “cooperating” with the United States. But obviously, Canada’s concessions to the United States did not exchange goodwill from the other side.
Is Canada too weak in Canada-US relations?
Within a month of the entry into force of the new regional free trade agreement, the number of fights between States parties was rare in the history of international relations. The US move once again exposed its jungle laws and hegemonic logic to the world, and there were voices in Canada accusing Trudeau of being soft on the United States.
“For weeks, the US government has been mulling tariffs on Canadian aluminum products. Why is the Trudeau government indifferent? Unfortunately, the Trudeau government has made too many concessions on trade negotiations, depriving Canada of its strategic advantage in dealing with US tariffs. ” Four Conservative MPs said in a joint statement, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.