President Trump had a blunt message for China today after announcing punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum. “Until you open up your markets, you can expect our biggest trading partner, Canada, to get slapped with tariffs on the things we mostly get from them,” Trump said after signing his executive order imposing tariffs of up to 30 percent on key metal imports.
Canada is the number one source of steel into the United States and also a big importer of aluminum, while China barely supplies 10 percent of steel into the United States.
“When I ran for president, I said China was eating our lunch on trade,” Trump said. “We’re putting an end to that starting right row, by punishing the country that supplies most of our imports and also buys most of our exports: Canada.”
Trump said he has other steep tariffs he’s ready to impose on Canada if China doesn’t start making its trading rules fairer. “Right now China has almost completely free access to American markets while it imposes stiff rules on American companies that want to do business there,” Trump said. “That’s why we’re hitting our most important trading partner with stiff penalties. Until China starts acting like the mature global power it is, we’ll keep punishing our friendly neighbor to the north.”
China president Xi Jinping said the United States is free to impose as many tariffs on Canada that it wants; it has no plans to change its trade laws to benefit the United States. “It can drive Canada to its knees for all we care,” Xi said. “We will maintain the restrictions we have on American companies operating in China and on American imports because they are working for us.”
Even if Canada declared itself insolvent, Xi said, “that would not alter our position.”
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