Canadian deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland: blasts Trump on new aluminium tariff

Canada’s deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the first casualties of the 10 percent aluminium tariff reimposed by President Trump, will be American workers and consumers.

“The United States has taken the absurd decision to harm its own people at a time when its economy is suffering the deepest crisis since the Great Depression,” Freeland said.

“In fact the very washing machines manufactured at the Whirlpool plant where the president made his announcement yesterday will become more expensive for Americans and less competitive with machines produced elsewhere in the world.”

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According to a report by Globalnews.ca, Freeland has vowed that Canada will “respond swiftly and strongly” to defend its workers

“Let me be clear. Canadian aluminium is in no way a threat to U.S. national security which remains the ostensible reason for this, and that is a ludicrous notion,” Freeland said at a news conference on Friday.

Trump announced the tariff during an event in Ohio on Thursday, claiming the U.S. aluminum business “was being decimated by Canada.”

“Canada was taking advantage of us, as usual,” Trump said.

A statement released by the White House also cited national security concerns in explaining the Trump administration’s decision to restore the tariffs.

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Freeland said Canada intends to impose “dollar-for-dollar countermeasures” in response to the “unwarranted” U.S. decision, valued at CDN$3.6 billion.

The government will first hold consultations over the next 30 days on aluminium products, she said, and then will impose reciprocal, retaliatory tariffs.

“We will not escalate and we will not back down,” Freeland said.

The tariffs are expected to come into effect on Aug. 16 — but Freeland said she hopes “common sense will prevail” before then.