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Canada May Refresh its Tariff Policies, Ag on Edge


America’s northern neighbor is cranking up the pressure in its efforts to get President Donald Trump to lift the Section 232 tariffs he imposed last year on the country’s steel and aluminum exports.

Canada is refreshing the list of U.S. products it will target with retaliatory duties, David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, said Monday, adding that the tariff relief talks have hit the skids, as the Canadians see things. The updated list will likely be out within the next week, he said at a North American Agricultural Journalists meeting in Washington.

Ag on watch: MacNaughton said he expects “a significant number” of agricultural products to be on the new list. He said it was too early to name specific products but noted some in Canada have called for including apples, pork and ethanol. Canada, one of the largest markets for American wine, is likely to look to U.S. wine exports as well, MacNaughton said.

Don’t call it escalation: The ambassador said the goal is “not to escalate anything” – it’s just a substitute for old counter-tariffs Canada waived under its exemption programs. Canada promised dollar-for-dollar retaliation when Trump imposed the metals tariffs last year, but it has since waived more than $214 million worth of tariffs on targeted U.S. products, Canada’s Finance Department said Monday.

A Canadian Finance Department spokesperson told our Pro Canada colleagues that number could increase over time, as Canada receives new applications for product exemptions. Two other Canadian officials said more than $750 million in U.S. goods, or north of $1 billion in Canadian dollars, could ultimately be hit with new duties.

The agriculture industry wants the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement ratified – and soon. But the existence of the steel and aluminum duties threatens to derail legislative consideration of the deal in all three countries.

“There are no negotiations at the present moment,” MacNaughton said, referring to 232 relief talks. “There have been what I would describe as restating positions.”

Source: AgriMarketing

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