Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with state and local officials about infrastructure in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday.

‘Canada does not treat us right’ says Trump, as he threatens new global tax

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is complaining about Canadian trade practices while threatening some as-yet-undefined international tax that has revived fears he might be contemplating new American import penalties.

The U.S. president made the remarks at the White House on Monday while unveiling a long-awaited infrastructure plan. During a lengthy session with reporters, he complained about countries considered allies of the U.S.

He mentioned one directly to America’s north.

”Canada does not treat us right in terms of the farming and the crossing the borders,” Trump said.

”We cannot continue to be taken advantage of by other countries.”

It’s unclear what he was referring to. In the past, he has complained about Canada’s dairy controls and softwood lumber. Administration officials have also expressed anger over Canada’s wide-ranging attack at the World Trade Organization on the U.S. system for imposing duties.

Meanwhile, the White House downplayed the tax threat Monday and various U.S. media outlets said there was nothing imminent.

Trump did promise more clarity on a new tax. More details could be coming this week, he suggested.

”We are going to charge countries outside of our country — countries that take advantage of the United States,” Trump said. ”Some of them are so-called allies but they are not allies on trade. … So we’re going to be doing very much a reciprocal tax and you’ll be hearing about that during the week and the coming months.”

It’s unclear what type of tax he’s referring to. Earlier this year, the administration dropped the idea of a border-adjustment tax in its since-passed fiscal reform, because of widespread opposition on Capitol Hill.

The confusion was compounded by several factors:

—In the U.S., Congress sets tax rates — not the president. And the Congress, which just completed a major tax reform, has shown little inclination to hike taxes.

—Tariff rates, meanwhile, are negotiated at the WTO.

—The idea wasn’t even mentioned in the White House’s 2018 budget proposal — which was released Monday.

The most specific clue Trump offered involved motorycles.

He complained that the U.S. brings in products tariff-free and other countries sometimes charge more than 50 per cent tariffs on the same product: ”Harley-Davidson. They’re treated very unfairly in various countries. You know the countries I’m talking about,” Trump said. ”So we’re going to be doing very much a reciprocal tax.”

Those motorcycle tariffs are highest in Asia — they don’t exist in North America.

Several trade experts contacted Monday confessed to some confusion about what the president was threatening. Dan Ikenson of the Cato Institute said the only action he could think of might violate international trade law.

It involves a rarely used retaliatory measure from a 1974 U.S. trade law.

”Could be anything, but nothing he could do, while remaining true to the trade rules,” Ikenson said.

”Presumably, he could invoke Section 301 (of the 1974 U.S. Trade Act) and threaten to impose taxes to mitigate, countervail, reverse foreign practices that he finds unfair. (That) could pass muster with U.S. law, but not WTO rules.”

Just Posted

Red Deer man pleads guilty in stabbing death

Shane Dion McPhee pleaded guilty to manslaughter for February 2016 slaying

Hundreds oppose massive RV development at Buffalo Lake

About 400 angry residents turned up at a public hearing in Stettler… Continue reading

Fire causes extensive damage to Olds home

Cause still under investigation

Oven fire at Penhold home

Damage limited to kitchen

Watch: Pandas on the move

Artist Patrick LaMontagne shows his work in this time lapse video

Watch: Pandas on the move

Artist Patrick LaMontagne shows his work in this time lapse video

Rebels Fan Fest set for Wednesday

Time to cheer on the Rebels; Tickets on sale for WHL playoffs

Uber self-driving vehicle hits, kills pedestrian in Arizona; Company stops tests

TEMPE, Ariz. — Uber says it has suspended all of its self-driving… Continue reading

Tories want debate on 12-month mission to support UN mission in Mali

OTTAWA — Canada’s official Opposition wants a full parliamentary debate on the… Continue reading

Brand of lean ground beef recalled due to possible presence of E. coli

OTTAWA — A brand of lean ground beef is being recalled because… Continue reading

Police chief: 4th bombing shows ‘different level of skill’

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas’ capital city was rocked by the fourth bombing… Continue reading

Lacombe Skating Club presents Broadway on Ice

The Lacombe Figure Skating Club hosted its year-end carnival with a Broadway… Continue reading

WATCH: SPARC sparks conversations and connections in Red Deer

Families spend time together at G.H. Dawe on Sunday

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month