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Fearing trade war, European Union warns of protectionism 'dead end'

13 March 2018

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is heading to Canadian steel country this week on a three-day tour created to shore up the industry.

In a phone call from the smelter town, Trudeau thanked Trump for the "special consideration" extended to Canada on the tariffs, and emphasized the importance of preserving "mutually beneficial" supply chains to support jobs and businesses on both sides of the border, his office said.

Canada's exemption from President Donald Trump 's tariffs have nothing to do with talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told CNBC on Monday.

The president of the Canadian Steel Producers Association says Canada may be off the hook for now from American steel and aluminum tariffs but it is still at risk from a glut of foreign steel.

He said the government needs to monitor steel imports more closely so that if shipment volumes are rising, it can react quickly to stop Canada from becoming a dumping ground into the USA market.

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"There's a lot of steel out there looking for a home", said Herman.

Trump in a tweet provoked the Europeans still further on Monday saying his Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross would speak with the EU side "about eliminating the large tariffs and barriers they use against the U.S.".

"We are ready to take action whenever action is required. we had your backs last week and we always will", Trudeau said after visiting a Rio Tinto Ltd (RIO.AX) (RIO.L) smelter in Alma, Quebec, his first stop on a tour this week of Canada's steel and aluminum regions. On Monday, he tweeted that Mr Ross would be speaking with European Union representatives about eliminating "large tariffs and barriers" "Not fair to our farmers and manufacturers", he said.

The EU urged Mr Trump not to head down "a dead end" road of protectionism and warned of a damaging trade war over his new steel and aluminium tariffs.

The announcement of duties of 25 per cent on imported steel and 10pc on aluminium has stung the European Union, coming as a surprise to United States allies and also to many in Washington. "That is because the level of integration within our two markets is deep, complex and profitable to both of our countries".

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Canada is the United States' largest provider of steel and aluminum, with about 85 per cent of Canadian exports being directed to that country. Marie, Ont., and Regina, Sask.

Executives in the steel-processing sector describe the manner in which countries and importers get around tariffs as being akin to a sheet of paper.

The Prime Minister told aluminum plant workers in Saguenay, Quebec, he will always have their backs when it comes to fighting USA tariffs.

Article I of the U.S. Constitution says only Congress has the power to set tariffs.

Other countries may also ultimately be excluded.

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Fearing trade war, European Union warns of protectionism 'dead end'