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July 4, 2018

Condo buyers will pay the price as Canada retaliates against Trump’s tariffs


Condo buyers in Canada’s already pricey markets may be the next to pay up as the trade battle with the U.S. radiates through the construction industry.

Canada imposed a 25 percent tariff on U.S. steel imports on July 1, retaliating against levies President Donald Trump slapped on goods from its northern neighbor a month ago. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is also said to be preparing quotas and tariffs for other countries to prevent a flood of steel rushing in to undercut prices.

“If the government’s not careful, they will protect one at the expense of ten times that elsewhere,” said Walter Koppelaar, chief executive officer and chairman of Walters Inc., a Hamilton, Ontario-based steel construction company that counts Brookfield among its customers. “If they apply duties to broad-spectrum steel or metal of any shape, size or description, our industry here would be decimated — it could be thousands of layoffs and it’s going to shut down projects right across this country.”

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The comments underscore the widening impact of Trump’s move to upend the world trade order to get what he deems is fairer access to international markets and to protect domestic jobs. He’s pledged tariffs on $50 billion worth of goods from China and imposed levies on imports of steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Each region has struck back with countermeasures or is planning tariffs of their own.

The price of steel used for construction projects across the country has already soared by about 38 percent in 2018 due to a booming property market and a lack of supply, according to the Canadian Coalition for Construction Steel which represents 17 companies.

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