Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Trump spoke with Canada's Trudeau about tariffs, NAFTA talks: White House

Trump Tariffs May be Good for NAFTA Talks Steel tariff exemption 'wasn't some big favour,' says prime minister
Pablo Mccormick | 13 March, 2018, 06:13

"We are very concerned about the actions taken by China and the dumping of steel and aluminum on the global market", Trudeau said following a tour of an aluminum plant in Quebec.

"Mexico reiterates that the negotiation of NAFTA must not be subject to conditions outside of that process".

His comments came amid rising trade tensions in the wake of a United States decision to impose steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

Trudeau also rejected the idea that the tariff exemption was some kind of benevolent American favour that required repayment.

He said he made similar points last week to U.S. President Donald Trump, in a phone call before the tariff decision.

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When Trump announced the 10 per cent tariffs on aluminum and 25 per cent on steel, he said Canada and Mexico could be exempted permanently if the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is successful.

Financial analysts noted that hitting Mexico with steel tariffs would not make much economic sense for the US, which enjoys a surplus in the steel trade of $3.6 billion a year with Mexico, according to the bank UBS.

"The exemptions aren't a magical favour that was being done (for Canada)", Trudeau said.

"I look forward to hearing directly from workers about how we can work together to address these issues and help our steel and aluminum industries grow and succeed. It has a negative impact on the NAFTA talks", he told a news conference Monday.

The prime minister is on a cross-country tour of aluminum and steel factories to demonstrate his government's support for workers in light of potential threats to those industries from the US administration. Marie, Ont., and Regina.

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Canada, the top supplier of steel and aluminum to the United States market, and Mexico have been temporarily exempted from the tariffs until trilateral continental trade talks conclude. While the penalties take effect later this month, Trump has encouraged countries to try negotiating exemptions for themselves.

Trudeau made the call from Alma, Quebec where he was touring an aluminum smelter, according to a release by Trudeau's office.

The initial reaction in Mexico was positive, since the alternative would have further complicated the NAFTA talks.

US tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum would be "very harmful" for industry and workers in both countries, he added.

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