File Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS

File Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS

Ottawa will work with Canadian aluminum, steel companies to ensure jobs safe: PM

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will work with Canadian companies hit by punishing U.S. tariffs

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will work with Canadian steel and aluminium companies hit by punishing U.S. tariffs to make sure jobs and workers north of the border are protected.

In a CBC radio interview in Halifax this morning, Trudeau said he had spoken with steel and aluminum producers and assured them ”that Canadian workers and communities continue to do OK despite these unnecessary and punitive actions from the United States.”

Trudeau didn’t specify what that might mean in the wake of U.S. measures aimed at Canada, Mexico and the European Union that slap import duties of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum.

Asked about how the measures affect relations with the United States and President Donald Trump, Trudeau said it marked “a bit of a turning point, but we’ve always known that this administration is unpredictable.”

Canada has responded by imposing dollar-for-dollar tariff “countermeasures” on up to $16.6 billion worth of U.S. imports.

They come as the two countries, along with Mexico, are trying to hammer out a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement and after Trump sent a warning to Trudeau late Thursday that the days of the U.S. being taken advantage of in trade deals “are over.”

Trudeau was in Halifax to speak to the annual conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Related: Canada responds to U.S. steel, aluminum tariffs with ‘countermeasures’ of its own

Related: U.S. to slap steel and aluminium tariffs on Canada, Mexico

The Canadian Press

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