Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs addresses the media during a news conference in Toronto on Thursday, March 8, 2018. NAFTA negotiating teams will keep bargaining through the weekend in an effort to get a deal by early May. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Ottawa details list of U.S. tariff targets, offers up to $2B in support

Ottawa also released details Friday of a financial aid package for industries and workers caught in the crossfire

The federal Liberal government is taking its cross-border trade dispute with the United States up a notch, unveiling an extensive final list of $16.6-billion worth of American imports that will be hit with retaliatory tariffs this weekend.

Ottawa also released details Friday of a financial aid package for industries and workers caught in the crossfire — and it includes up to $2 billion in fresh funding and loans for Canada’s steel, aluminum and manufacturing sectors.

“It is with regret that we take these countermeasures, but the U.S. tariffs leave Canada no choice but to defend our industries, our workers and our communities, and we will remain firm in doing so,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement.

She unveiled the details — including a finished list of U.S. products on Canada’s hit list, which takes effect Sunday — during a news conference at a steel factory in Hamilton.

“The real solution to this unfortunate and unprecedented dispute,” she said, ”is for the United States to rescind its tariffs on our steel and aluminum.”

Aside from reciprocal tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the U.S., the items to be subject to 10 per cent duties come from a wide range of sectors — from ketchup, to lawn mowers, to playing cards.

Related: A look at the numbers behind Ottawa’s tariff reprisal against Trump

Related:Trump’s calling Trudeau ‘dishonest and weak’ sparks calls for calm

It’s all part of Ottawa’s plan to strike back at the U.S. in response to hefty steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump several weeks ago.

The government’s decision to stand up to Trump by striking back with countermeasures has attracted wide support in Canada — but domestic businesses, particularly those in the steel sector, have expressed deep concerns about any escalation in the trade battle.

More broadly, the effects of the trade fight are expected to hurt both economies, which includes putting jobs at risk and potentially raising consumer prices on both sides of the border.

The federal support package is similar to the one offered by Ottawa last year in response U.S. duties on softwood lumber products from Canada.

For the latest dispute, the government intends to help affected workers by extending the duration of work-sharing agreements under the employment insurance program by an additional 38 weeks. The aim is to help businesses retain skilled workers and avoid layoffs during any rough patches ahead.

Ottawa is also promising to boost funding for the provinces and territories to increase job and training programs, and to provide liquidity support for impacted businesses.

Through its strategic innovation fund, Ottawa is also offering up to $250 million in support in an effort to reinforce the competitiveness of Canadian manufacturers and strengthen the integration of Canada’s steel and aluminum supply chain.

The government also plans to invest $50 million over five years to help firms take full advantage of recent trade agreements, including Canada’s deal with the European Union and its membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The funding will feature new grants.

The federal government also reiterated Friday that it has taken steps and introduced safeguards to address concerns about diversion and dumping of products into the Canadian market.

Last week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressed concerns about the world’s overproduction and overcapacity of steel, saying the U.S. tariffs against Canada and other allies are designed to force them into action.

Freeland has long insisted that Canada introduced stronger safeguards on steel well before the U.S. imposed the tariffs.

She said the measures were put in place not only to ensure Canada is a good trading partner, but primarily to protect Canada’s own national interest by keeping Chinese steel and aluminum from being dumped into the market.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Small homeless camp removed at Horth Hill Regional Park in North Saanich

CRD staff say the camp is not connected to Camp Namegans in Goldstream

Cool Aid Society cleans up Woodwynn Farms

Casual labour pool helps to clear debris

Victoria police searching for missing 18-year-old

Austin Bennett-Frechette is known to frequent the Greater Victoria Public Library

Recent rash of thefts in Sidney similar to past sprees

Sidney/North Saanich RCMP warn residents to lock their vehicles

Lawyer questions rejection of visitors to Goldstream homeless campers

Activist Chrissy Brett says they are still in fear of being kicked out

UrbaCity raises record-breaking $70,000 for Island Prostate Centre

240 racers, corporate sponsors fill the coffers for the cause

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Appeal pipeline decision but consult Indigenous communities, Scheer says

The federal appeals court halted the Trans Mountain expansion last month

B.C. electric vehicle subsidy fund drains faster than expected

Province adds another $10 million to incentive fund

‘I’ll never forgive you:’ Victim impact statements at hearing for Calgary killer

Curtis Healy was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday in the death of Dawns Baptiste.

Man accused of mailing bomb to his brother in B.C. has died

Leon Nepper was found in ‘medical distress’ at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre on Sunday

Most Read