From bourbon to boats, Mexico strikes back against U.S. steel tariffs

From bourbon to boats, Mexico strikes back against U.S. steel tariffs

From bourbon to boats, Mexico strikes back against U.S. steel tariffs

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the summit host, and British Prime Minister Theresa May, who will also attend, are among those to sharply criticize the US tariffs as unjustified and punitive.

Mexico has published the tariffs it is imposing on products imported from the U.S. in response to the Trump administration's duties on Mexican steel and aluminium.

Rebuffing the criticism down the line, Mr Trump reportedly shot back: "Didn't you guys burn down the White House?"

The White House was burned by British troops in 1814 as part of a failed invasion of the mid-Atlantic, more than 50 years before the signing of Canada's confederation paved the way for the country to become independent.

The new tariffs, announced last week, sparked disbelief from across the political spectrum in Canada.

The two leaders reportedly had a tense phone call May 25 before the official announcement of the new tariffs, which the president has justified under a national security clause in US trade law.

Mexico promised retaliatory measures after the USA announced it would go forward with its plan to impose steel and aluminum tariffs. That falls short of the US$200 billion over two years that the Trump administration has demanded the Chinese government buy to address a yawning trade imbalance. Given that Trump doesn't even know the words to God Bless America, I think it's safe to say that this line was exactly as dumb and ill-informed as it sounds*.

"We have, on various occasions, heard the president speak about his interest or his musings about a bilateral deal instead of the trilateral NAFTA that we have", Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated.

The White House declined to comment when asked by CNN about the President's remark in reference to the War of 1812.

Mexico is the second biggest market for United States' pork exports and one-third of all pork consumed domestically comes from north of the border. Some further tariffs will come into force on July 5.

Expectations for a resolution of the trade row this week are low after finance leaders from the United States' G7 partners butted heads with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a meeting last week in the Canadian resort town of Whistler, British Columbia.

Trump late last month announced that tariffs on US$50 billion worth of Chinese imports will be finalised by June 15 with investment restrictions due by June 30 and that both measures will be implemented shortly after those deadlines.

Adding to the uncertainty is European anger over Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the worldwide nuclear agreement with Iran.

A senior administration official declined to discuss the specifics of Trump's phone call with Trudeau but acknowledged some of the President's conversations with his foreign counterparts on the subject of trade have been confrontational.

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