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U.S. drops tariffs on Canadian aluminum, avoiding tit-for-tat payback

Chrystia Freeland, Canada's deputy prime minister and minister of finance, speaks while Justin Trudeau, Canada's prime minister, left, listens during a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. Photographer: James Park/Bloomberg

PortandTerminal.com, September 15, 2020

In a surprise move, the United States abruptly reverses its decision to apply tariffs on Canadian aluminum and avoids retaliatory measures

WASHINGTON – The United States announced today that it is lifting its 10 percent tariff on Canadian aluminum, retroactive to Sept. 1, backing down from the trade dispute just hours before Canadian retaliatory measures were to be announced.

This major move was announced by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. In a statement, the top American trade official cited “consultations” with Canadian officials and an expectation that trading of aluminum is likely to balance out in the months ahead, as why the Americans decided to withdraw what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called “unjust” tariffs.

11th Hour Reprieve

The decision to lift the tariffs came at the very last possible moment. This morning, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said that his goverment was about to reveal how it planned to retaliate against the U.S. tariffs on its aluminum imposed by President Trump last month.

“I want to highlight that we will be taking action to counter the unjust tariffs put on Canadian aluminum,” Trudeau said ahead of a meeting with his cabinet. “We will always be there to defend Canadian workers, defend our aluminum sector.”

Now, Canada will not be moving forward with its planned retaliation. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Minister Mary Ng were to make the announcement of the countermeasures at 3 p.m. EDT, but will now be coming out to respond to the U.S. decision.

“A trade dispute is the last thing anyone needs – it will only hurt an economic recovery on both sides of the border. However, this is what the U.S. administration has chosen to do,” said Canada Finance Freeland last month after the announcement of the US tariffs on Canadian aluminum. Apparently, someone in Washington listened to reason.

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