June 11, 2018 / 9:36 PM / 14 days ago

Quebec offers C$100 million in loans, guarantees to firms hit by U.S. metals tariffs

MONTREAL (Reuters) - The Canadian province of Quebec will offer C$100 million ($77.1 million) in loans and guarantees on loans to steel and aluminum companies hit by recent U.S. tariffs, the province’s economy minister said on Monday.

Companies that transform the metals will benefit from the program after the United States recently slapped a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.

Economy Minister Dominique Anglade told reporters in Montreal that the program came after aluminum and steel companies received feedback from clients who are not willing to pay the tariffs.

“What they’re telling us is some of their contracts were canceled,” she said, adding some had already slowed down production.

Anglade said the impact of the tariffs on metals had been felt quicker than when the United States announced tariffs on softwood lumber in 2017.

“The value of the impact is hard to assess,” she added. “We’re seeing something that we haven’t seen in softwood lumber.”

She said the industries generated about 30,000 jobs in the mostly French-speaking province.

Large Quebec aluminum producers, which have higher margins and benefit from greater economies of scale, did not ask for such a program and would not have access to it, Jean Simard, president of the Aluminum Association of Canada, told reporters in Montreal.

Anglade said her government would meet next week with industry to reassess the program.

Reporting by Allison Lampert; Editing by James Dalgleish and Peter Cooney

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