Metal tariffs cause problems

REGINA — Leah Olson knew the steel and aluminum tariffs would be a big issue for her Canadian members, and it turned out to be a big issue for their American cousins, too.

The president of Agricultural Manufacturers of Canada said the American farm equipment companies are as against U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariffs “as our members on the north side of the border.”

“We really commend the Canadian government on its quick response to the United States on the tariffs they have imposed on some steel and aluminum products,” said Olson.

“This protectionism hurts agriculture in general, not just Canadian producers and manufacturers. If it costs farmers money, and this will … it will cost everyone at some point.”

Farm equipment sales in Canada have shown solid growth, even better than in the United States, where it has been rebounding this year.

“The continued spectre of trade retaliation or a trade war over steel and aluminum tariffs, however, poses a challenge for farmers and manufacturers,” said Curt Blades, senior vice-president of agriculture at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

Olson said the uncertainty created by the tariffs’ potential to drive up costs has meant that Canadian companies that have been making expansion plans are in some cases considering putting them on hold.

“Business needs the ability to plan, and this makes that hard,” said Olson.

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