“It is mindless to focus on that Canadian metal or aluminum is likely to be a safety menace to the US,” he continued, referring to the argument that the imports threaten the US’ nationwide safety.
He echoed the sentiment of his international minister, Chrystia Freeland, that any tariffs on metal or aluminum had been “completely unacceptable” — however he didn’t echo her foreboding assertion that they may set off “responsive measures.”
Specialists had some optimism that Mr. Trump may not undergo together with his plan of imposing tariffs of 25 p.c on metal and 10 p.c on aluminum.
“There’s nonetheless some hope that cooler heads will prevail and America’s closest allies and most dependable commerce companions might be excluded from most of these protectionist measures,” mentioned Roland Paris, a professor of worldwide affairs on the College of Ottawa and a former international coverage adviser to Mr. Trudeau.
Hugh Segal, a former chief of workers to the prime minister within the 1990s, mentioned the transfer would harm American shoppers amongst others. “If that is about unfair commerce practices of different nations, we’re not the violators on that entrance,” he mentioned. “Any rational evaluation will point out that.”
Though the US and Canada have lengthy had a mutually useful commerce relationship, tensions have grown since Mr. Trump got here into workplace. Final 12 months, the Trump administration introduced the imposition of recent tariffs on Canadian lumber imports, the most recent spherical in a longstanding battle over these merchandise. It additionally threatened to impose crippling tariffs on a new airliner from the Canadian firm Bombardier, though it finally backed off.
Now, the Trump administration seems prepared to use tariffs on Canadian newsprint. In response, Canada has gone to the World Commerce Group with a sweeping problem over how the US handles commerce complaints from its industries.
Whereas different American administrations had quarreled with Canada over commerce points previously, Mr. Trump has distinguished himself with harsh feedback about what he calls Canada’s unfair commerce practices.
Then there’s the matter of the North American Free Commerce Settlement, which Mr. Trump has threatened to tear up if the US can’t get hold of substantial adjustments by negotiations.
Gordon Ritchie, a former Canadian commerce negotiator, mentioned he apprehensive the American transfer on tariffs would additional fray good will between the nations in the course of the seventh spherical of negotiations over Nafta. But when the People need to “shoot themselves in numerous components of their anatomy, then there’s not quite a bit we will do about it,” he mentioned.
Canada has declared lots of the important American calls for on Nafta to be unacceptable, and Mr. Trudeau has not too long ago mentioned it’ll stroll away from the deal quite than accept a bad one — even supposing a full 70 p.c of the nation’s exports go to the a lot bigger American market.
Since Mr. Trump was elected, Mr. Trudeau has despatched a sequence of envoys — cupboard ministers, premiers and a former prime minister, Brian Mulroney — on common journeys to the US to fulfill with American officers, lawmakers, chambers of commerce and companies, to persuade them of the mutual good thing about free commerce with their northern neighbor.
The hope is that they, in flip, would possibly deflect and include Mr. Trump’s impulses. Most Canadian observers think about the strategy — known as the “doughnut strategy” — profitable so far.
However this appears the most important check of that technique, particularly as Mr. Trump has taken the bizarre step of invoking United States safety as the explanation to impose the tariffs. And on Friday, Mr. Trump additionally mentioned that a commerce struggle was “good” and “straightforward to win.”
Laura Dawson, the director of the Canada Institute on the Wilson Heart, a analysis group in Washington, known as the American transfer “dangerous,” and mentioned it may immediate different nations to quote nationwide safety grounds to slap tariffs on issues like American corn and grain.
She additionally requested: “Is Canada not a trusted associate in protection?”
Others supplied the same mix of criticism, primarily based on economics and friendship.
Frank McKenna, a former ambassador to the US, mentioned the nation could be “traumatized” by the tariffs ought to they be carried out subsequent week. Though a lot smaller in measurement, Canada does have some ammunition to harm the US because the “largest supplier of vitality to the U.S. — by way of oil, fuel, uranium and hydro.”
However he additionally known as the American plan “a repudiation of our friendship.”
Jean Simard, the president of the Aluminum Affiliation of Canada, whose business’s 9 smelters export about $5.6 billion throughout the border yearly, mentioned it was “very troublesome to simply accept being handled this fashion.”
He added: “It’s not the best way to cope with a rustic that has been probably the most strategic ally of the united statesA. because the Second World Conflict.”