July 2, 2018 / 8:49 PM / 3 months ago

Canada not helping itself by hitting U.S. with tariffs: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Monday that Canada’s decision to enact tariffs on C$16.6 billion ($12.63 billion) worth of American goods in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on imports of Canadian steel and aluminum would not help its economy.

FILE PHOTO: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 25, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

“Escalating tariffs against the United States does nothing to help Canada. It only hurts American workers,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told a media briefing when asked about Canada’s action.

Ties between the two neighbors and long-time allies have been strained by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on U.S. imports of steel and aluminum on national security grounds.

The retaliatory tariffs unveiled by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Friday mostly target U.S. steel and aluminum products, but also hit consumer food products, such as coffee, ketchup and whiskey.

Canadian officials said the measures were designed in part to pressure Trump by focusing on goods from states where his political allies hold sway.

“We’ve been very nice to Canada for many years, and they’ve taken advantage of that - particularly advantage of our farmers,” Sanders said. “The president is working to fix the broken system, and he’s going to continue pushing for that.”

Reporting by Jeff Mason, Tim Ahmann; editing by Grant McCool

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