Trudeau: Canada's steel industry can breathe 'sigh of relief' after exemption

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 15, 2018

President Donald Trump urged the quick completion of the NAFTA negotiations in a phone call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday, amid indications the US wants a deal wrapped up this spring.

Trump reportedly wants the treaty to be more fair. Quebec is a huge stakeholder, which is why the Prime Minister is visiting.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with workers during a visit to Stelco Hamilton Works in Hamilton Ont., Tuesday, March 13, 2018. Canada and Mexico are both indicating a willingness to step up the pace of the talks but not at the expense of getting a good deal for all.

Later, Canada and Mexico were exempted from the imposition of the trade tariffs.

Freeland is coming off a tense week which started with the seventh round of NAFTA negotiations making little progress towards an agreement but ended with a sigh of relief when Canada and Mexico secured an exemption from new US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

In a phone call from the smelter town, Trudeau thanked Trump for the "special consideration" extended to Canada on the tariffs, and emphasized the importance of preserving "mutually beneficial" supply chains to support jobs and businesses on both sides of the border, his office said.

Trump's eagerness to seal the deal of NAFTA came months after the U.S. and Canada were on the loggerheads on this issue. "To impose tariffs that would hurt workers on both sides of the border - it's not like that that we'll negotiate a better NAFTA deal". "While we are grateful that our trading partners, Canada and Mexico, are now exempt, it is our view that these tariffs will quickly become a tax on the fix and maintenance of vehicles, a tax that will ultimately be paid for in higher fix prices by the American auto owner".

Canada has vowed to retaliate if duties are imposed but Trudeau did not answer directly when asked what measures it might take.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said members of the Canadian steel industry can breath a sigh of relief, CNN reported.

Trump said last week he would impose import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent for aluminum, effective later this month, but exempted Canada after an intense lobbying campaign arranged by Ottawa.

Canada, the top supplier of steel and aluminum to the USA market, and Mexico have been temporarily exempted from the tariffs until trilateral continental trade talks conclude.

"We'll just respond the way we have, with focus on the work we do together and not too much worry about the rhetoric", he said.

"You know when it starts but not how it will turn out" when countries engage in mutual retaliation, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said in remarks to reporters after a meeting with Brazilian President Michel Temer.

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