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Nov 8, 2018

Linamar CEO sounds alarm on metals tariffs: 'It's not logical'

'Let's get rid of these tariffs': Linamar CEO

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The head of Canada’s second-largest autoparts maker is sounding the alarm on lingering steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the United States.

“Let’s get rid of these tariffs, what are we doing?,” Linamar Corp. Chief Executive Officer Linda Hasenfratz said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg Thursday.

“We signed a trade deal a month ago, how does it make sense that we still have tariffs in place between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico,” Hasenfratz added, referring to the United States-Mexico- Canada Agreement, which was reached in late September.  

“It’s not logical.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier in the week Canada may still ratify the USMCA, which still needs to be signed off by all three countries’ lawmakers, even if the U.S. President Donald Trump doesn’t lift the metals tariffs imposed this past spring.

Trump used national security grounds to justify tariffs of 10 per cent on aluminum and 25 per cent on steel, leading to a dollar-for-dollar retaliation by Canada that took effect in July. Meanwhile, Trump hasn’t lifted the threat to impose a similar 25-per-cent tariff on auto imports.

“It’s a tough situation because we all need USMCA to get signed,” Hasenfratz said. “I mean, this is the future of North American trade, it’s the next generation of NAFTA. We need to get it behind us. But the very fact of signing that agreement means that we shouldn’t have tariffs between our countries.”

Hasenfratz said Linamar, which reported a nearly 19 per cent rise in third-quarter revenue Wednesday, hasn’t specifically seen any material impact yet as result of the tariffs, but pointed to the broader industry, where companies like Ford Motor Co. have been hit hard.