When Canada’ s retaliatory tariffs came into effect on July 1st, I spent much more time checking prices and origins of products than I usually do in a local drug store yesterday. Tariffs at 10% are not a big deal but so many items at 10% will add up (16.6 billion apparently). I am talking about the products from the United States that will be charged a 10% tariff crossing the border into Canada matching Mr. Trump’s 25% tariff on steel and aluminum. All of this is going to hit both countries because as with automobiles, products go back and forth across the borders during production and yes, will pay tariffs every time they cross a border.
I remember when the NAFTA first came into being , a lot of Canadian companies moved south of the border or went out of business. Many Canadian companies were sold and are now American. Large numbers of people were laid off, and it is starting to happen again in the steel companies. If the auto industry is attacked , economists fear we could go into recession.
Yesterday I went to one drug store that gets products from both countries and saw, as always , a big gap between prices. For instance, am I going to pay $3 or $8 for 3 bars of soap? No contest there. I saw high-end bath lotion for as much as $33.00, the average was $8.99 but I bought the cheap stuff for $2.99. My priority? It smells good and will make bubbles. I last bought an American brand of deodorant that cost 3.99 but now it is 5.99 so switched back to a previous Canadian product on sale for 2.49. Almost all the higher prices are American products but I have a low income and almost always buy what is cheaper.
One item that has cost a lot of ruckus is Ketchup.There was an American company in Ontario, Canada that made ketchup with local produce, but pulled out and went south leaving the local farmers in a lurch. Next a Canadian company opened in that spot and buys locally from those same farmers, so yes there is a call out to Canadians to buy that product and support the local farmers.
I bought a bag of Twizzlers for the sale price of $2.99 but today it will go up to $3.99. In the past year, I have bought them for $1.50. In Alberta add 5% gst (government sales tax) to that price. In the past year, all prices have gone up , tariffs or not, Twizzlers or not. I really don’t eat licorice THAT much, or do I?
Here is a list of products that will have a tariff of 10% as they cross into Canada:
- Kentucky Bourbon
- maple syrup
- cast iron grills
- prepared meals of spent fowl
- prepared meals of bovines
- licorice, candy, toffee
- chocolate (slab or bars, filled or plain),
- pizza, quiche
- cucumbers, gherkins
- strawberry jam
- orange juice (not frozen)
- salad dressings
- mixed condiments, mixed seasonings
- sauces, soups, broths,
- shaving preparations,
- room deodorizers,
- odourizers including for religious rituals,
- organic liquid or cream for crème for skin wash,
- automatic dishwasher detergents
- glues or adhesives
- sacks or bags
- tableware and kitchenware
- insecticides, fungicides ,herbicides
- household articles
- hygienic or toilet articles
- plywood (6 mm or less)
- some paper products
- toilet paper, handkerchiefs, cleansing or facial tissues, facial towels
- tablecloths , serviettes
- printed or illustrated postcards
- combined refrigerator/freezer
- recreational vehicle
- household dishwashers
- washing machines
- inflatable boats, sailboats, motorboats
- upholstered wooden furniture
- mattresses, sleeping bags
- ballpoint pens, felt-tipped pens
- sweetened waters, mineral waters and aerated water
- soya sauce
- bobbins, spools, caps and similar supports
I don’t know why there are tariffs on soft lumber or dairy, which has been a bone of contention for years but my guess it is for the sake of survival for the farmers and lumberyards in Canada and possibly local sustainability.
I think all countries can benefit a lot from free trade if all stay employed at good wages and can produce locally and even across the border.
This is by no means a thorough investigation, I am simply writing from my very limited viewpoint. I am curious what prices are like where my fellow bloggers live, if you like free trade and/or if buying local is more appealing to you.
There will be one more diversional blog when I will go to the grocery store and see if there are any changes. We are all caught up in these political moves, and I want to share what I see.
After that, I am back to birding, thank-you.