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Quebec offers $100 million to small firms affected by U.S. tariffs on aluminum, steel

The Canadian Press
Quebec offers $100 million to small firms affected by U.S. tariffs on aluminum, steel

MONTREAL — Quebec is offering $100 million in loans and loan guarantees to the smallest companies in the province’s steel and aluminum industries.

Economy Minister Dominique Anglade made the announcement June 11 after a meeting in Montreal with industry players as well as union representatives, employers and municipalities.

Canada, Mexico and countries in the European Union will no longer be exempt from U.S. import duties of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, which were imposed in March.

Unlike primary producers such as Rio Tinto, Alcoa and Aluminerie Alouette — which operate nine aluminum smelters in Quebec — smaller processors say they are not strong enough to absorb the 10 per cent tariff.

Some small and medium-sized companies say U.S. customers have already warned they will not pay the extra bill from the surtax.

In his G7 Summit statement during the weekend, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the tariffs imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum “insulting.”

The Trudeau government announced last week it intends to analyze the effects of the new trade dispute to determine what form of assistance is most appropriate for the industry.

It has also said it will impose dollar-for-dollar, retaliatory tariffs on metals and a range of other U.S. products by July 1.

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