Quebec offers C$863 million in aid to lessen brunt of U.S. tariffs

FILE PHOTO Workers are seen at Bri-Steel Manufacturing, a manufacturer and distributer of large diameter seamless steel pipes, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Candace Elliott/File Photo

MONTREAL (Reuters) - The Quebec government on Wednesday said it would spend C$863 million ($657 million) over five years to mitigate the impact of U.S. tariffs on companies and the Canadian province’s agriculture sector.

The plan would provide direct financial aid to some companies affected by the tariffs and would support investments to improve productivity, worker training and boost market diversification, Quebec’s Liberal government said in a news release.

The Trump administration has imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from Canada and other nations, prompting retaliatory tariffs against the United States.

In June, Quebec said it would offer C$100 million in loans and loan guarantees to steel and aluminum companies hit by the U.S. tariffs.

Quebec’s Liberal government, which is facing an October provincial election, said the plan announced on Wednesday would support C$3.1 billion ($2.4 billion) worth of company investments in the province.

“The Quebec economy is today threatened by the Trump administration’s protectionist policies and their repercussions on the global economy,” Premier Philippe Couillard said in the release. “We are living in exceptional circumstances that demand an exceptional response.”

Reporting By Allison Lampert; Editing by Susan Thomas and Steve Orlofsky