The general "neoliberal" position towards trade is that it benefits both sides and low tariffs/subsidies are beneficial. This has been the dominant trend in wealthy nations for the last thirty plus years, with free trade agreements and descending tariffs.
Recently, however, politicians have been more inclined to impose tariffs. When Donald Trump threatened to, or actually imposed tariffs, I noticed that other countries respond with threats of their own tariffs. These politicians could all be closet anti-globalists who just wanted an excuse to throw up trade barriers, but I'm not interested in that side of things. My question is, what reasons do pro-globalization and pro-free-trade politicians use to justify retaliatory tariffs? The default, expected, free-trade position being something like:
Yet, in view of recent United States actions[tariffs], Canadian nationalists may well step up their demands that Canada exercise its sovereignty, raise new trade barriers, particularly against the United States, and, in general, ignore international agreements. That's about the silliest thing we could, something that would spell economic ruin for hundreds of thousands of Canadian workers.
I'm not looking for why any politician would impose a tariff, that's been covered elswhere, I'm looking for how politicians that believe in free trade justify retaliatory tariffs.