New July 1st Tariffs on US Imports and how they may impact you

 In Compliance Updates

Tariffs were introduced on July 1st, in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Canada's Retaliatory Tariffs against the US infographic

Steel and aluminum are on the list of products targeted for Canadian counter-tariffs totaling $16.6 billion.  The list also includes seemingly random things such as pickles, beer kegs and chocolate.

On top of that, there’s also the looming threat from U.S. President Donald Trump of 25% tariffs on vehicles. At this time, no formal action has been taken to impose those tariffs yet.

The Canadian government asked for suggestions from the public when crafting the July 1st tariff list. However, with such a broad range of products it can be difficult to understand the full impact on Canadian consumers.

“There’s two kinds of tariffs, export tariffs and import tariffs. Mostly we’re talking about import tariffs,” said Laura Dawson, director of the Washington-based Wilson Centre’s Canada Institute, in an interview with CBC.

“That means on pickles, when that $1 jar comes into Canada, then 10 cents is assessed at the border. It’s paid by the importer and that price is passed on to the consumer.”

US states impacted by new tariffs

Canadian imports by US state

The list of items to be hit with tariffs may look random. It’s not. It targets specific regions of the U.S. that are politically important to Trump and to key Republicans.

“This list was clearly drawn strategically to exert maximum pain politically for the president,” Maryscott Greenwood of the Canadian American Business Council told CBC News.

“The idea is, you look at a map of the congressional districts of the United States, you look at which members of Congress are in leadership positions and then you look at the big industries in those districts. And then you draw up your list accordingly.”

What about Canadian steel and aluminum tariffs? How will those work at the border? 

“It gets applied at the border, so as soon as whoever is landing that product [arrives] there’s paperwork that you need to fill out. And at that time, you pay (the Canada Border Services Agency) the fees and tariffs that are owing … before you are cleared to land that product in Canada,” Dawson said.

Steel often crosses the border several times before it becomes a final product. How many times does the Canadian tariff get applied?

“Every time it goes across the border, the tariff gets applied. Sometimes there’s things called drawbacks and remissions, so that if you’re processing a product in Canada and then sending it back to the United States, you can apply for a rebate,” Dawson said.

In cars, for example, many parts are shipped back and forth between the two countries before a final vehicle is assembled and ready for sale.

Value of US State Exports Subject to New Tariffs Infographic

Imposing tariffs could make products more expensive for Canadians. Manufacturers unable to swallow the expense themselves pass that increase to the consumer.

Expert witnesses appeared before the Parliamentary international trade committee this week to support the government’s move to impose counter-tariffs — and also to warn of the destruction that could follow if the U.S. tariffs remain in place for long.

“We support the countermeasures announced by the federal government and believe that they must be comprehensive and immediate,” Ken Neumann, the United Steelworkers union’s Canadian director, told the committee.

“If you don’t poke the bear, he’s going to eat your lunch.”

Joseph Galimberti of the Canadian Steel Producers Association agreed with Neumann. Both men warned of the catastrophic impacts on Canada’s steel manufacturers that could result from American tariffs down the road.

How will the metal tariffs affect consumers?

“It will definitely mean a cost increase. It means that that product will be more expensive,” Dawson said.

“I think the government has chosen to find things that there are Canadian produced alternatives to, so you’re not going to be immediately penalized. You can find some other mustard to buy, for example.

“But on things like steel and aluminum, you as a manufacturer in Canada are going to have a really hard time going out and finding another source of that product. It’s going to be costly.”

What about Donald Trump’s threat to introduce auto tariffs?

Though the auto tariffs are just a threat right now, the Canadian auto industry is already bracing for a crash.

“A 25% tariff on cars and parts would cause what we like to call ‘Carmageddon,”‘ Flavio Volpe of the Auto Parts Manufacturer’s Association told the Parliamentary committee.

“The industry operates on single-digit margins and it would grind to an immediate halt with a 25% increase. A $32,000 car — that’s an average price here — would immediately be unsalable at $40,000.”

Canada exports around 80% of its manufactured cars, with most of them flowing across the southern border.

Tariffs on cars would “destroy the Canadian auto industry,” Keith Head, a trade economist specializing in the auto sector, told CBC News earlier this month.

Canada’s vehicle manufacturing industry employs about 125,000 people, according to Statistics Canada. About 70 per cent of those jobs are in automotive parts manufacturing.

source: CTV News


To help you navigate through the complex compliance landscape (and avoid the penalties that can come from non-compliance), Community Customs Brokers’s team of professionals can provide answers to these and many other pressing questions related to doing business in Canada as an Importer/Exporter.


Contact us today for a free consultation.

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