United States backs off Canadian aluminium tariffs

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The U.S. left a threat hanging in the air, saying it would reimpose retroactively a 10 per cent tariff if Canadian imports exceeded monthly levels that Lighthizer's statement set out, or if it detected a future imbalance in aluminum trade between the two countries.

"After consultations with the Canadian government, the United States has determined that trade in non-alloyed, unwrought aluminum is likely to normalize in the last four months of 2020, with imports declining sharply from the surges experienced earlier in the year", a press release from the United States Trade Representative office said.

The federal government is celebrating the United States' decision to lift its 10 per cent tariff on Canadian aluminum, with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland calling the tariffs a mistake from the beginning, and "good news" for aluminum workers on both sides of the border.

In August, Mr. Trump accused Canadian industry of trying to "kill all our aluminum jobs" with a "flood" of exports.

The United States is standing down in its dispute with Canada over imported aluminum. "We fully retain our right to impose our countermeasures if the USA administration decides to reimpose its tariffs on Canadian aluminum products, and we are prepared to do so", Ng said at a news conference.

The Trump administration imposed the new national-security tariffs last month after complaints from two US smelting operations that Canada was violating the terms of a 2019 agreement between the two countries. "We will defend our aluminum sector".

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Ottawa said last month it would impose sanctions on C$3.6 billion ($2.7 billion) worth of USA aluminum and products containing aluminum.

The government had already issued a list of possible products on the target list, including beverage cans, washing machines and golf clubs. The government remains prepared to retaliate should the USA decide to act on its tariff threat, she added.

The US first imposed tariffs on foreign steel and aluminium in 2018, citing national security concerns.

Export minister Mary Ng confirmed that Canada would drop its measures, but said it will reserve the right to act again if the aluminum industry was unfairly targeted again.

Ahead of the US backing down, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said that the government should be taking a more proactive approach to avoid similar instances in the future.

This means USA businesses and consumers will have to pay the tariff on Canadian imports or find other foreign sources, such as Russian Federation.

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