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June 18, 2018

MSCI Asks Canada To Reconsider Retaliatory Tariffs

Last Wednesday, MSCI President and CEO Bob Weidner and Vice Chair Bill Chisholm wrote to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the François-Philippe Champagne, minister of international trade, asking them to reconsider retaliatory tariffs on steel and aluminum products imported into Canada from the United States. These penalties are expected to take effect July 1, 2018.

The letter explained MSCI already has called on U.S. President Donald J. Trump to reinstate exemptions for Canada and Mexico regarding his administration’s Section 232 penalties. It argued, “Businesses in the Canadian and American metals sectors, not to mention consumers in both countries, would be best served if Canada and the United States, along with Mexico, come back to the negotiating table to reach an agreement to end these tariffs, and to reject future tariff threats.” MSCI’s hope is that the countries can achieve this goal by restarting NAFTA modernization discussions immediately and with a sense of urgency.

The full letter to His Excellency Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada is available here.

As MSCI members are well aware, from the beginning of the Trump administration’s Section 232 investigations, MSCI made it clear NAFTA trading partners should be exempt from those penalties and that the tariffs should be focused on non-market economies like China that routinely thwart international law. Our responses to the Trump administration’s Section 232 steel and aluminum investigations, which make that request, are available here. By outlining the benefits of the U.S.’s $1 trillion annual trading relationship with Canada and Mexico, MSCI’s NAFTA comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative last June make it clear what is at stake. Those comments are available here.

As CNN reported, while speaking in Washington, D.C. last week, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said President Trump’s decision to impose the Section 232 tariffs on Canada was “absurd” and that her country was moving forward “more in sorrow than in anger” with retaliatory tariffs. Also last week: the Canadian Parliament’s House of Commons unanimously approved a resolution that opposed the tariffs.