Québec smelters make the vast majority of aluminium exported from Canada, and much of it destined for the US.

“Québec will look to obtain an exemption for the Québec industry,” Christine St-Pierre, the province’s minister of international relations, said during an aluminium summit on Monday June 4 in Montreal. She noted, however, that her government supported the Canadian government in challenging American action at the World Trade Organization and through North American Free Trade Agreement dispute settlement procedures. She said it also supported the Canadian federal government’s decision to impose retaliatory tariffs on US aluminium, steel and other products, albeit “regretfully."

The tariffs will have “a harmful effect that will ripple throughout the US value chain,” St-Pierre said. She noted that secondary US users, such as members of the brewing industry, had spoken out against the move, citing an increase in costs and loss of business.