Canada to slap extra tax on quiche, mayo, toilet paper and dozens of other U.S. products
Published Thursday, May 31, 2018 4:37PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 1, 2018 7:26AM EDT
The first volleys of a Canada-U.S. trade war were fired Thursday, and the Trudeau government shot back with a threat of special tariffs on wide array of American-made products including mayonnaise, sleeping bags, toilet paper and quiche.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slammed U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on Canadian steel, calling the move “totally unacceptable.” Effective midnight, Canadian steel transported over the U.S border will face a 25 per cent tariff and aluminum will face a 10 per cent tariff.
Canada responded by matching Trump’s tariffs with countermeasures on similar steel and aluminum products shipped from the U.S. Those measures would take effect July 1 unless the U.S. retracts its tariffs, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland confirmed.
But Canada went even further, threatening a 10 per cent surtax on a vast selection of products that do not appear to contain steel or aluminum. The taxed goods include candy, condiments, alcohol, toiletries, cleaning supplies, camping gear and boats.
The products on Canada’s list account for up to $16.6 billion in American-made goods.
Some of the most notable products include:
- Inflatable boats
- “Pizza and quiche”
- Playing cards
- Tablecloths and serviettes
- Roasted coffee (but not decaffeinated)
- “Tomato ketchup and other tomato sauces”
- Maple syrup and maple sugar
- “Prepared meals, of bovine”
- Sailboats, with or without a motor
- Sleeping bags
The list, which the federal government published online, also includes dozens of varieties of steel and aluminum products, including wire, beer kegs and railway tracks.
But the list isn’t final, Freeland told CTV’s Power Play on Thursday. The government has launched a 15-day consultation period to hear feedback on the proposals.
“We expect the consultation to have an impact on the list. That’s why we consult,” Freeland said Thursday.
Items on the list were strategically chosen to not cause harm to Canadian industries, Freeland said. Everything on the list can be replaced with products made in Canada or from other countries, and the list focuses on finished products rather than items that would be used by Canadian manufacturers.
Freeland pointed out that 50 per cent of American steel exports go to Canada, calling her government’s countermeasures “meaningful.”
Steel and aluminum exports are significant to Canada’s economy. Every year, Canada produces about 13 million tonnes of steel and 3.2 million tonnes of aluminum. Together, the two industries account for $26 billion of sales.
About half of Canada’s steel and 80 per cent of aluminum is exported to the U.S.
The trade spat comes amid ongoing NAFTA negotiations between Canada, Mexico and the United States.
In announcing the tariffs on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross noted that Canada and Mexico were initially exempted from Trump’s tariffs. However, Ross said NAFTA talks are “taking longer than we had hoped” and said “there is no longer a precise date when they may be concluded.”
Trudeau has spoken with the premiers on Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec, which all rely on steel and aluminum.
The Prime Minister’s Office said they all agreed to “continue to defend the Canadian steel and aluminum industry from unwarranted tariffs and to stand up for the best interests of all Canadian workers and businesses."
With files from The Canadian Press