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Trudeau, Trump discuss Canadian tariffs over phone call

Hours before Canada is set to impose its own tariffs on American goods, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called US President Donald Trump, saying “Ottawa had no choice, but to act.”

According to a readout of the telephonic conversation provided by the Canadian Prime Minister’s Office, the call was made late on Friday, CBC reported.

Trudeau first expressed his condolences for the five persons who died in a shootout at the ‘Capital Gazette’ newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland.

He then spoke about the upcoming Canadian tariffs, saying, “As he has said in past conversations and in public, the Prime Minister conveyed that Canada has had no choice but to announce reciprocal countermeasures to the steel and aluminium tariffs that the United States imposed on June 1, 2018,” according to the readout.

“The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch on a way forward,” it added.

On Friday, the Canadian government announced retaliatory tariffs on US imports, including steel, aluminium and certain consumer goods worth 16.6 billion Canadian dollars, and also unveiled a 2 billion Canadian dollar aid for supporting workers in its steel, aluminium and manufacturing sectors.

While addressing media at a steel factory in Hamilton, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said, “Canada has no choice but to retaliate with a measured, perfectly reciprocal dollar-for-dollar response – and that is what we are doing.”

“They will take effect on July 1 and will remain in place until the United States eliminates its trade-restrictive measures against Canada,” she added.

This came after the US announced to impose 25 and 10 percent tariffs on steel and aluminium respectively on three of its biggest trading partners – Canada, Mexico and the European Union (EU) on May 31.

On June 2, Trudeau dubbed the trade tariffs as “insulting and unacceptable” and announced that the country would impose its own tariffs on US’ goods in retaliation.

The EU has also slapped tariffs on American goods worth USD 3 billion such as yachts, bourbon and motorcycles.

Last week, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the US tariffs against Canada and other countries were “designed to force them into action to address the world’s overproduction and overcapacity of steel.”

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