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UPDATE: US Reimposes Aluminum Tariffs on Canada

Aug. 7, 2020
Trading partner said it intends “swift retaliation.”

UPDATE: On August 7, Canada announced that it would impose surtaxes against aluminum imports from the United States, as well as certain aluminum-containing products, in response to the U.S. imposition of tariffs on some Canadian aluminum. The countermeasures, which the government said will represent "a proportionate amount of Canadian aluminum products affected by the U.S. tariffs,"  will take effect by September 16. They will remain, the government said, until the U.S. eliminates its tariffs against Canadian aluminum. The Canadian government provided a list from which products subject to countermeasures will be drawn. Those selected will be subject to a 10% surtax. 

U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday he would reimpose 10% tariffs on some aluminum from Canada, effective August 16.

The tariffs apply to non-alloyed unwrought aluminum from Canada, imports of which increased by 87% during June 2019 through May 2020 compared to the prior 12-month period, according to a While House proclamation.

The U.S. had lifted aluminum and steel tariffs on Canada and Mexico in May 2019, which had been placed on the trading partners about a year earlier under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act. In return, Canada had announced it would drop retaliatory duties.

Chicago-based Century Aluminum Co. quickly applauded the White House’s August 6 decision. “President Trump’s action demonstrates this administration’s continued dedication to restoring the U.S. aluminum industry and American jobs,” said Century Aluminum President and CEO Michael Bless in a press statement.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, however, called the move “a step in the wrong direction.”

“These tariffs will raise costs for American manufacturers, are opposed by most U.S. aluminum producers, and will draw retaliation against U.S. exports — just as they did before. We urge the administration to reconsider this move,” said U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President Myron Brilliant in a statement.

Canada Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland described the White House announcement as “unwarranted and unacceptable” in a statement. She said Canada “intends to swiftly impose dollar-for-dollar countermeasures.”

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