Trump Trade

A welder fabricates a steel structure at an iron works facility in Ottawa, Ontario, Monday, March 5, 2018. 

Canada is the United States’ most steadfast ally. From Normandy to Korea to Afghanistan, we have fought and died together. For 60 years, Canadian service members have proudly served alongside their American counterparts in defense of North America as part of NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Yet the U.S. administration is imposing tariffs against Canadian steel and aluminum under the pretext of a national security provision. This decision is unacceptable. The United States has a $2 billion steel trade surplus with Canada. Canada buys more steel from the U.S. than any country in the world, accounting for 49 percent of all U.S. steel exports.

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Our economies are deeply integrated. Canada is the largest export market for U.S. goods and services, larger than China, Japan and South Korea combined. Louisiana alone sold $2.7 billion in goods and services to Canada last year and has a $500 million trade surplus with Canada. Trade and investment with Canada supports almost 96,000 jobs in Louisiana. As The Advocate has reported, the state’s oil and gas, petrochemical, and construction industries are large importers of steel and aluminum and are likely to be impacted by cost increases under these tariffs.

The decision to levy tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum does nothing to address the very real problem of unfairly priced foreign steel and aluminum flooding the North American market. Even the United Steel Workers Union opposes these tariffs on Canada, noting “the decision not to exempt Canada ignores the fact that Canada’s steel and aluminum exports to the United States are fairly traded and that Canada has shown its willingness to strengthen its laws as well as its cooperation with the United States to fight unfair trade.”

Canada has stated unequivocally that we would be compelled to respond to the imposition of any steel and aluminum tariffs against Canada. Beginning July 1, Canada will impose equivalent tariffs on U.S. steel, aluminum and other goods. These countermeasures will impact over $123 million of Louisiana’s exports to Canada — including $47.9 million in herbicides and $47.3 million in coffee.

It is Canada’s desire that we will not have to impose these reciprocal tariffs. We call on the U.S. Administration to reconsider its decision and invite concerned Louisianans to join this call.

Vasken Khabayan

acting consul general of Canada, South-Central United States