Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unloaded on President Donald Trump’s latest tariff move at a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday.
“Let me be clear, these tariffs are totally unacceptable,” Trudeau said Thursday of Trump’s decision to establish new tariffs on Canadian goods under the pretext of national security concerns.
Watch the clip below via Bloomberg:
“The numbers are clear. The United States has a two billion US dollar surplus in steel trade with Canada, and Canada buys more American steel than any other country in the world,” he added. “Indeed, we account for half of U.S. steel exports.”
Trudeau cited the use of Canadian aluminum in American military infrastructure and blasted the notion of his country being considered a security threat as “inconceivable.”
Since Trump took office in 2017, Trudeau has attempted to work with his American counterpart to find an amicable agreement on the North American Free Trade Agreement despite Trump’s harsh rhetoric.
But his remarks on Thursday marked a stark change in Trudeau’s tone towards the American president.
American tariffs on Canadian aluminum & steel are unacceptable. As we have said, we will always stand up for our workers, and today we’re announcing retaliatory measures to this attack on our industry.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 31, 2018
“These tariffs are an affront to the longstanding security partnership between Canada and the United States,” he said. “And in particular, an affront to the thousands of Canadians who have fought and died alongside their American brothers in arms.”
The Trump administration’s latest tariff efforts target steel and aluminum imports coming from the European Union, Mexico, and Canada. In response, Trudeau retaliated with the announcement of $12.8 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods.
“This is not about the American people,” Trudeau said of his retaliatory tariffs, placing blame squarely on the White House. “We have to believe that at some point common sense will prevail.”
“But we see no sign of that in this action today by the U.S. administration,” he remarked.