Canada vows to retaliate against any US steel tariffs

''Will be making a decision soon on the appointment of new Chief Economic Advisor. Many people wanting the job - will choose wisely!,'' Trump tweeted. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Ottawa, ON, Canada Mar 02, 2018, 02.12 AM (IST)

Canada will retaliate against any U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum products, officials said on Thursday, as Ottawa faced what could be one of the biggest economic threats since Donald Trump became president.

Trump unveiled the tariffs on Thursday but did not make clear whether they would apply to Canada and Mexico, which together with the United States are trying to renegotiate the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

"Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers," Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement, calling any trade restrictions "absolutely unacceptable."

She did not give details, and Canadian officials were not immediately available for comment on what measures she might have in mind.

Canada sends 75 percent of its goods exports to the United States and would be vulnerable if a trade war erupted. Canada is also the largest supplier of both steel and aluminum to the United States.

Canada buys more American steel than any other country, accounting for 50 percent of U.S. exports, and the steel and aluminum industry is highly integrated, Freeland said.