United States drops tariffs on Canadian aluminum

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In a statement before the second day of a cabinet retreat in Ottawa, Trudeau said the government is acting to protect Canada's aluminum industry.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Canadians against relaxing their guard against COVID-19 as he and his cabinet kicked off two days of closed-door meetings to discuss the pandemic and how to lead the country through a second wave.

In a previous spat over US tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum that lasted almost a year, Canada put charges on imports of American playing cards, bourbon, sleeping bags and licorice, in addition to metals, to put pressure on lawmakers who represent places where those goods are produced.

"It's a good decision for the industry and for Canadian workers".

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and International Trade Minister Mary Ng are due to make the announcement at 3 p.m.in Ottawa. "It's a decision that is beneficial to everyone the imposition of US tariffs was a mistake right from the beginning", she said.

Canadian aluminum sales to the USA totalled US$8.4-billion in 2017, the last full year without tariffs, accounting for 80 per cent of Canada's exports of the metal.

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"At the same time, as we shift more of our activities indoors, we will need to increase our awareness of COVID-19 risk factors in reopened settings". It said it could re-impose the tariffs if the imports surged again. He then lifted them past year on Canadian and Mexican metals to smooth the way for the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"Based on these expectations, the United States will resume duty-free treatment of non-allowed, unwrought aluminum retrospective to September 1, 2020", the Office said. The 10% tariffs went into effect on August 15.

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.

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

The U.S. imports about 60 per cent of aluminum from Canada and according to Global Affairs Canada, the combined trade of aluminum between Canada and the U.S. totals to $14.5 billion annually.

Trudeau had set a press conference for 3 pm ET today to impose $3.6B in counter measures.

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