Canada: Tarifs américains sur l'acier et l'aluminium : Le Canada riposte

Last Updated: September 18 2018
Article by Nicolas Désy and Geneviève St-Cyr Larkin

Most Read Contributor in Canada, September 2018

Le présent article fait suite à notre article du 5 mars 2018 au sujet de l'annonce de l'imposition d'imposants tarifs douaniers américains sur l'acier et l'aluminium.

Le Canada et le Mexique avaient jusqu'à tout récemment été exemptés des tarifs douaniers imposés par les États-Unis sur l'acier et l'aluminium en mars 2018 en raison des négociations entourant l'Accord de libre-échange nord-américain (ALENA). Or, le 31 mai 2018, les États-Unis ont annoncé l'imposition de tarifs douaniers de 25% sur les importations de certains produits d'acier et de 10% sur les importations de certains produits d'aluminium en provenance du Canada.  En effet, vu l'impasse de ces négociations, le Président Trump a annoncé l'imposition de ces tarifs à compter du 1er juin 2018. Ces nouvelles mesures sont adoptées en vertu de l'article 232 de la Trade Expansion Act of 1962, une loi et une disposition qui permettent au gouvernement d'adopter certaines mesures tarifaires ou d'abroger des mesures favorisant le commerce international si le Président estime que le tout est dans l'intérêt national des États-Unis. L'article 232 de la loi en question réfère aux circonstances et aux quantités des importations qui pourraient mettre en cause l'intérêt national des États-Unis.

Il est possible que les États-Unis, par l'imposition de ces tarifs douaniers, agissent en contravention à leurs obligations en vertu des règles imposées sous les accords de l'Organisation mondiale du Commerce (OMC) qui permettent uniquement aux états qui en sont membres d'imposer de tels tarifs de manière temporaire afin de protéger les intérêts essentiels de leur sécurité. Plusieurs observateurs ont indiqué qu'il est vraisemblable  que les États-Unis aient imposé ces tarifs pour avoir une position de force dans la renégociation de l'ALENA. L'imposition de ces mesures est effectivement concomitante avec la renégociation de l'ALENA.

D'autre part, l'article XXI b) de l'Accord général sur les tarifs douaniers et le commerce permet à un pays de prendre des mesures afin de protéger les intérêts essentiels de sa sécurité, un article très peu utilisé historiquement. Le Canada conteste actuellement les mesures américaines devant les instances de l'OMC et de l'ALENA puisque cet article ne peut être utilisé pour des buts commerciaux, ce que semble actuellement faire le Président Trump.

Il est intéressant de noter que les compagnies américaines peuvent demander une exemption au gouvernement américain si elles considèrent que les produits qu'elles importent du Canada ne représentent pas une menace pour la sécurité des États-Unis ou si des fournisseurs américains ne peuvent répondre à leurs besoins1 .

En réponse à ces mesures, le Canada a annoncé qu'il ripostera au moyen de surtaxes qui seront également de 25% et de 10% sur les importations d'acier, d'aluminium et d'autres produits des États-Unis. La surtaxe de 10% touchera divers produits de consommation allant du jus d'orange aux lotions et crèmes de rasage en passant par les machines à laver. La mesure vise seulement les biens produits aux États-Unis, excluant ainsi les produits provenant d'autres pays qui ne font que transiter via les États-Unis. 

Les mesures annoncées par le gouvernement canadien prendront effet le 1er juillet 2018 et le gouvernement canadien a annoncé qu'elles resteraient en vigueur jusqu'à ce que les États-Unis retirent leurs tarifs sur les importations de produits d'acier et d'aluminium d'origine canadienne. Le gouvernement canadien a précisé qu'il pourrait annoncer des mesures additionnelles si celles-ci étaient nécessaires.

Il importe de noter que les mesures annoncées par le Canada sont susceptibles de changer d'ici leur entrée en vigueur. Elles étaient d'ailleurs sous consultation jusqu'au 15 juin. Ainsi, il faudra se pencher sur la version finale de ces mesures pour en cerner correctement la portée.


1« Requirements for Submissions Requesting Exclusions From the Remedies Instituted in Presidential Proclamations Adjusting Imports of Steel Into the United States and Adjusting Imports of Aluminum Into the United States; and the Filing of Objections to Submitted Exclusion Requests for Steel and Aluminum », Département du commerce des États-Unis, 19 mars 2018.

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