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Premier Moe “disappointed” by U.S. steel tariffs, “supportive” of move by fed. gov’t
Published Thursday, May 31, 2018 2:23PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, May 31, 2018 6:28PM CST
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he is “disappointed” by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to place tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.
Trump is putting a 25 per cent tariff on steel and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminum, effective at midnight on Thursday.
Moe said the tariff will have huge implications in Saskatchewan, particularly on the Evraz steel plant in Regina. The premier said 55 per cent of Saskatchewan exports go to the United States, and 85 per cent of the province’s imports are from the United States.
Moe spoke to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the impending tariffs on Wednesday night. He will also be travelling to Washington, D.C., next month to talk trade.
“I’ll be impressing the impact on our province on the jobs in our province and on the strength that we have globally when we have strong trade arrangements across the board,” Moe told reporters Thursday.
Trudeau called Trump’s decision “punitive” and “totally unacceptable.”
“These tariffs are an affront to the long-standing security partnership between Canada and the United States, and in particular, to the thousands of Canadians who have fought and died alongside American comrades-in-arms,” he said.
Federal Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland outlined Ottawa’s planned retaliatory measures against the U.S. tariffs. The measures will come into effect on July 1.
The countermeasures will amount to up to $16.6 billion in imports of steel, aluminum and other products from the U.S. Freeland said it will represent the value of the 2017 exports impacted by Trump’s decision.
After hearing the federal government’s announcement Thursday, Moe said he is “supportive” of the move.
“We’re in an economy in Saskatchewan where one in five jobs is dependent on trade with other nations around the world, including the United States of America,” he said. “We’re not supportive of any trade sanctions or trade tariffs in any way. We are supportive of free and open trade.”
“We really do need to be standing up and making sure that we’re expressing the importance of this trading relationship and the importance of our steel being able to get into U.S. markets,” NDP leader Ryan Meili said.
Moe went on to say he will be working with industry leaders to find ways to minimize the impact of the tariffs on Saskatchewan workers.
“I don’t think any trade war is productive in any way. I don’t think any trade tariffs, quite frankly, are productive in any way,” he said. “We’ve always been a supporter of free and open trade and we continue to be.”
With files from CTVNews.ca