Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for joining us.
Today we find ourselves the target of punitive tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel, under pretext of a 232 national security provision.
Let me be clear: These tariffs are totally unacceptable.
For 150 years, Canada has been America’s most steadfast ally.
Canadians have served alongside Americans in two world wars and in Korea.
From the beaches of Normandy to the mountains of Afghanistan, we have fought and died together.
Canadian personnel are serving alongside Americans at this very moment. We are partners in NORAD, NATO, and around the world.
We came to America’s aid after 9/11 – as Americans have come to our aid in the past.
We are fighting together against Daesh in Northern Iraq.
The numbers are clear: The United States has a $2 billion US dollars surplus in steel trade with Canada – and Canada buys more American steel than any other country in the world, half of U.S. steel exports.
Canada is a secure supplier of aluminum and steel to the U.S. defence industry, putting aluminum in American planes and steel in American tanks.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario on Thursday, May 31, 2018. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press via AP)
That Canada could be considered a national security threat to the United States is inconceivable.
These tariffs will harm industry and workers on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, disrupting linked supply chains that have made North American steel and aluminum more competitive around the world.
Beyond that, these tariffs are an affront to the long-standing security partnership between Canada and the United States, and in particular, to the thousands of Canadians who have fought and died alongside American comrades-in-arms.
The ties of commerce, friendship and, in many cases, family between Americans and Canadians are undiminished – indeed, they have never been stronger.
The Government of Canada is confident that shared values, geography and common interests will ultimately overcome protectionism.
As we have consistently said, we will always protect Canadian workers and Canadian interests.
Minister Freeland is here to outline retaliatory measures. This morning, I called the Opposition leaders to notify them of our response.
In closing, I want to be very clear about one thing: Americans remain our partners, friends, and allies. This is not about the American people. We have to believe that at some point their common sense will prevail.
But we see no sign of that in this action today by the US administration.