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Steel tariffs a concern in Alberta
Published Monday, March 5, 2018 9:24PM MST
Officials within Alberta’s steel industry are feeling uneasy about comments by U.S. President Donald Trump.
The U.S. is threatening to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imported into that country and some want the Canadian government to fight back.
It may not be Alberta’s biggest industry but an extra tax on steel could have implications right across the province.
“It's hard to put an exact number on it,” says David MacLean with Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. “We estimate the value of steel exports from Alberta to U.S. are in the hundreds of millions of dollars so there’s a lot of jobs at stake, a lot of investment.”
Trump is holding firm on his threat to slap tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum.
“We're not backing down,” says Trump. “We have a bad deal with Canada called NAFTA. Our factories have left our country, our jobs have left our country.”
Canada is America’s biggest steel supplier with most of the product shipped south coming from Ontario.
However, Alberta officials say the government needs to push for all Canadian steel products to be exempt from tariffs.
“We need to have a strategy in place to negotiate a good trade deal around NAFTA and to make sure the Canadian market is protected from unfair trading practices from other countries,” says MacLean.
Canada says it’s doing just that at NAFTA renegotiations in Mexico.
“We will always stand up for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses. Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum, Canada will take appropriate action to defend our trade interests and our workers,” says Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.
However Freeland didn’t go into details about what those measures could potentially be.
(With Files from Jordan Kanygin)