Chamber president pleased, for now, with exemption from Trump steel, aluminum tariffs

By Josh Hall (Twitter: @Vancan19) and The Canadian Press
March 8, 2018 - 3:36pm

Canada can breathe easier, for now.

It's getting relief from U.S.tariffs on steel and aluminum for an undetermined period.

Signing the proclamations in front steelworkers and high-level government officials, President Donald Trump announced the country will be hammering global steel and aluminum imports with tariffs of 25 and 10 per cent respectively.

The tariffs go into effect 15 days from now. Though one Republican senator is promising to introduce legislation to nullify Trump's new tariffs -- saying the administration is courting economic disaster. 
 
Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce President and Board Chair John MacKenzie predicts the Trump administration will use the tariff exemption as a sign of goodwill and as leverage in NAFTA negotiations.
 
"They are basically putting these tarriffs out there as a national security issue and they have a problem with that because Canada shouldn't be labeled as a national security risk," he explains. "But if they don't do it under national security, they're subject to World Trade Organization rules, so they're walking a very fine line."
 
Furthermore, MacKenzie says today's announcement that Canada and Mexico are getting a pass will only cause instability in the markets.
 
"Markets hate instability. What's really going to happen, nobody knows, and the markets will react," he says. "It's also having a detrimental affect on businesses because they don't know whats going to happen. If you're investing money in a business with all that uncertainty, would you really want to? Probably not."

(With file from The Canadian Press)

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