Ottawa businesses concerned about impact of new U.S. tariffs on aluminum

Covered Bridge Brewing in Stittsville is concerns about the impacts of new U.S. tariffs on aluminum.

The Federal Government has promised swift retaliation against the U.S. following President Donald Trump's move to impose new tariffs on Canadian aluminum.

But as the trade war between neighbours continues, local businesses that rely on aluminum products are worried about what it could mean for them.

One of those businesses is Covered Bridge Brewing in Stittsville.

"The cans are really important, we go through a lot more cans right now," said John Vandyk, owner of Covered Bridge Brewing.

Vandyk said the majority of their beer is packaged in aluminum cans, which are in high demand right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The last time he put the aluminium tariffs on we actually noticed that it became very difficult for us to get cans and keep cans in stock that we were using to package our beer," said Vandyk.

President Trump's announcement of new tariffs was met with push back from Canadian officials.

“Unnecessary, unwarranted, and entirely unacceptable,” said Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister on Friday.

Canada is considering more than $3.5 billion in countermeasures.

"We’re their closest allies, we’re supposed to be part of the big family and he comes and back stabs us like this, unacceptable," said Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

 "We have to try and nip this in the bud": Professor 

While aluminum is the target right now, some experts say this new tariff could be the beginning of a bigger trade dispute.

‘Tomorrow it could be on cars, it could be on who knows, whatever we make in exports in the states could become subject to it, and so we have to try and nip this in the bud,” said Ian Lee, associate professor at Carleton University's Sprott School of Business.

Lee said the move by Trump is about more than just trade.

“It was politics, but we don’t want trade to be turned into a political football,” he said on Saturday.

Experts have also pointed out that President Trump made the tariff announcement at a campaign rally in Ohio, and not at the White House.

They say this is being used as a political tool — but one that will have an impact on local businesses.