Koch brothers taking on Trump with free trade campaign

Finance Minister Bill Morneau attends the G7 finance ministers meeting in Whistler B.C. Thursday

G7 governments were also digesting Trump's threats to impose tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in United States auto imports on purported national security grounds.

Galimberti noted that there are tariffs on Canadian exports of steel and aluminum to the USA but nothing yet on American exports entering Canada, even as producers in this country begin to feel the bite of Washington's trade measures.

"The prime minister raised the United States decision to apply tariffs to European Union steel and aluminium imports, which she said was unjustified and deeply disappointing", her office said in a statement.

Steel industry executives, who met with Mr. Trudeau Monday afternoon, are also asking the Liberal government to throw up safeguards to block foreign steel diverted from the USA market from being redirected into Canada.

"I think they want a better deal on their auto sector from Mexico and I think they want more access on certain agricultural products like dairy to Canada", the prime minister said.

Koch network groups Freedom Partners, Americans for Prosperity and the Libre Initiative made it clear in an announcement Monday that they are opposed to Trump's tariffs and that their media and PR blitz is determined to show the benefits of open trade policies.

Trump cited Section 232, which allows the president to impose tariffs for national security interests.

"We've had a situation for many years where China has not treated American companies fairly and the trade deficit has grown and grown and grown", Branstad said in March.

Earlier in the day, President Trump tweeted about his recent trade push, saying USA farmers are being treated "unfairly" by Mexico, Canada and China, but after his trade negotiations, "that will change".

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The remarks came after finance ministers from the Group of Seven industrialised countries expressed outrage over US-imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum and called on Washington to reverse course.

Trudeau, in an interview aired on Sunday by NBC's "Meet the Press", said it was "insulting" to hear the USA claim that Canadian steel and aluminum posed a national security threat.

"We're going to work with the industry to really see the impact on the ground", he said on the sidelines of a global aluminum summit in Montreal.

Kudlow acknowleged that the dispute over trade could jeopardize a United States economy that is now "clicking on all cylinders", with surging growth and low unemployment.

That summit, which will be hosted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, will also mark Trump's first visit to Canada as president. "It has, in some cases, damaged the American economy, damaged American workers in manufacturing and other businesses", Kudlow said.

Theresa May has criticized Trump's decision as "unjustified" and will work with the European Union to seek exemptions from the USA tariffs.

If the WTO hears the complaint, Georgetown law professor Jennifer Hillman says the chances that the organization would side against the USA are extremely strong because, "it's a very clear case of a violation".

The trade penalties include a 25 percent tax on imported steel and a 10 percent tax on imported aluminum.

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