US trade actions to dominate talks between French president and Canadian PM

US trade actions to dominate talks between French president and Canadian PM

Today, Emmanuel Macron will visit Ottawa to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Later this week, both leaders will

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Photo: Reuters

Today, Emmanuel Macron will visit Ottawa to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Later this week, both leaders will travel to Quebec for the G7 Leaders’ Summit.

US President Donald Trump will likely dominate today’s agenda, after the US reimposed tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium from Canada, the EU and Mexico last Friday.

Aside from their own retaliatory countermeasures, there is very little that Canada or the EU can do about US tariffs. Indeed, a new NAFTA deal looks unlikely to be agreed, let alone ratified this year. Although the EU could choose to limit steel exports to the US in return for tariff exemptions, as Australia, Brazil and Argentina have done, that option is hardly ideal for Canada—the largest exporter of steel to the US.

Ultimately, the tariffs present yet another grievance with Trump. The president’s protectionist trade policies and abandonment of the Iran deal have left US relations with the EU and Canada at their lowest point in years, with recovery looking a long way off. For today, expect harsh rhetoric and little in the way of concrete action.

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