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'Senseless' tariffs will impact Canadian steel operations, Sault Ste. Marie mayor says

The mayor of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., says the United States decision to slap Canada with tariffs on steel and aluminium is a bad idea.

U.S. set to impose tariffs of 25 per cent on imported steel, 10 per cent on imported aluminium

Algoma Steel, based in Sault Ste. Marie, is the second largest employer in northern Ontario. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Sault Ste. Marie's Mayor is coming out swinging in the wake of U.S. plans to levy a 25 per cent tariff on Canadian steel at midnight tonight. We speak with Christian Provenzano, who says it's an illogical move that will only hurt the U.S. and Canada. 7:02

The mayor of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., says the United States decision to slap Canada with tariffs on steel and aluminum is a bad idea.

On Thursday morning, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross made the announcement. President Donald Trump announced in March that the United States would impose tariffs, citing national security interests.

Mayor Christian Provenzano says studies have shown this decision will negatively impact the economy in the United States.

"I think the message is through to the vast majority of the Americans that occupy Capitol Hill,"

"I just think the message isn't through to the president. Obviously, it's a bad idea for Canada but it's a really bad idea for the United States."

Christian Provenzano is the mayor of Sault Ste. Marie. (Twitter)

Exemptions were granted to the North American Free Trade Agreement allies and the European Union, but those were set to expire at midnight.

Canada has since announced it will counter the United States' move to slap punishing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports by imposing dollar-for-dollar tariffs of its own on everything from steel products to maple syrup.

Provenzano's community is home to Algoma, a steel-maker that is one of northern Ontario's largest employers.

He says currently, Canada and the United States have a very balanced relationship when it comes to steel. Provenzano says he's concerned that balance will be affected by adding tariffs.

"This is going to result in job losses in the U.S. and this is going to result in strong response I believe from Canada, which will have political consequences in the U.S.," he said.

"So I don't believe the president appreciates the impact of this decision and the negative impact of this decision on his own country."

Provenzano says he's already spoken to the area MP, the head of Algoma Steel and is working to connect with officials in Hamilton, as one of main industries in that community is steel.

As for the impact on Sault Ste. Marie, Provenzano says he's not sure what that will be yet.

"If the tariff is in place for a long period of time, that's going to have a much more significant effect on Algoma's production than if it's in place for a short period of time," he said.

"It may well be that the company is going to need some support from both the province and the federal government as we work through this process."

With files from Wendy Bird