Canada abandoned plans to retaliate against U.S. tariffs on aluminum after the Trump administration announced it would remove the levies, International Trade Minister Mary Ng said Tuesday.
“Canada welcomes this decision," she said. "It is a testament to the Team Canada approach as we all worked relentlessly” to ensure the 10 percent duties were removed.
But Ng warned that Ottawa would retaliate if Washington decides to reimpose the tariffs. "Let me be clear — Canada has not conceded anything," she said. “Our motto has always been we will not escalate, but we will not back down.”
Deal or no deal: Ng and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland stressed that the U.S. decision was "unilateral."
“This is not a negotiated deal between Canada and the United States," Freeland said. "We have not agreed to anything” with respect to quotas, she added.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer warned in a statement that if Canadian aluminum imports were to exceed certain levels during the last four months of 2020, Washington would impose the tariff "retroactively on all shipments made in that month.”
Freeland declined to specify which American imports the government had planned to retaliate against, other than to say "all the best items on the list" Ottawa had published for public feedback on countermeasures.
What's next: The aluminum industry will watch how shipments play out the rest of the year to see if the Canada-U.S. truce will last. The results of the Nov. 3 presidential election will likely affect the future of the countries' quarrel over steel and aluminum.