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Auto tariffs would have long term chill on Canada’s economic output: TD

Would permanently scar investment, threaten up to 20% of Ontario's manufacturing jobs.


Ford Edge rolling off the production line at the Oakville Assembly plant.
PHOTO: FORD

TORONTO — A new analysis by TD Economics says that if the US goes ahead with tariffs on auto imports it could cut Canadian economic growth by half a percentage point and threaten up to one in five Ontario manufacturing jobs.

The report by TD senior economist Brian DePratto says that if the US imposes tariffs of a similar magnitude to the ones announced on aluminum and steel, it would not only stagnate the economy but also frighten away future business investment.

DePratto says the move, which would affect roughly $74 billion in exports, could create permanent ‘scarring’ of the investment climate that reduces Canada’s long-term economic capacity.

He says the immediate tariff impact would mean about a 0.4% cut to economic output, but the long-term hit to confidence would have a peak impact on economic output of 1.2%, or about $25 billion in real terms, and permanently leave output about 0.2% below business as usual.

DePratto says he still expects that NAFTA disputes will eventually be resolved, but the potential impact of tariffs underscores the importance of the ongoing negotiations.

Scotiabank said in a weekend report that if the tariff dispute deteriorates into an all-out global trade war, it could push North America’s economies into recession in 2020, including a 1.8% cut to Canada’s GDP.

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