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US tariffs on Canadian aluminium take effect today.


US tariffs on Canadian aluminium take effect today.

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Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

A 10% tariff on imported Canadian aluminium is slated to go into effect today in the US.

The tariffs were imposed on Mexico and Canada in 2018 but were removed after the start of the new United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement in July. The agreement includes a snap-back feature that allows the levies to be re-imposed if imports of aluminium surge beyond “historic volumes.” While President Donald Trump asserts this to be the case, June imports were near normal levels.

Many large US aluminium manufacturers have slammed the tariffs as harmful and senseless. The companies that stand to benefit are small, US-based manufacturers with factories in solidly Republican states such as Kentucky and South Carolina.

In response, Ottawa has announced a retaliatory dollar-for-dollar tariff on US aluminium goods, beginning in September, likely targeting imports from states such as Michigan and Wisconsin, key for Trump’s re-election. Nevertheless, expect the conflict to persist until the US election as Trump sees his tough stance on trade as a winning electoral strategy. Canada will also likely await the results of the November election, awaiting a possible change in administration before commencing tariff easing negotiations.

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