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Doubtful Trump will impose auto tariffs, says Trudeau

June 21, 2018  

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he doubted whether U.S. President Donald Trump would carry out a threat to impose tariffs on autos, given the economic damage such a move would cause.

Trump has already slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada on national security grounds and is threatening similar punitive measures against autos, which would badly hurt the Canadian economy.

According to Reuters, Trudeau told a news conference that given the closely integrated nature of the North American auto industry, any action against Canada would hurt U.S. companies and workers.

“I have a hard time accepting that any leader might do the kind of damage to his own auto industry that would happen if he were to bring in such a tariff on Canadian auto manufacturers,” he said in his most expansive comments on the topic to date.

Canada is considering all options, including providing financial aid to the auto industry if necessary.

Canadian officials say they believe Trump is using the threat in a bid to wrest concessions from Canada at slow-moving talks to update the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Relations between the two leaders hit a new low this month after a Group of Seven summit when Trump – taking exception to what Trudeau had said about tariffs – calling him weak and dishonest.