Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

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

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

Global trade lawyer Larry Herman says the US tariffs mean there is now a lot of steel looking for a home and he encourages the federal government to put out a firm policy statement soon explaining what it will do if it finds evidence other countries are attempting to dump their steel in Canada.

Trudeau says he will keep the pressure on Trump during the tariff negotiations, as well as on negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland will be in Washington for three days this week - meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and key members of Congress.

Canadian steel facilities can't compete fairly against countries that choose "to sell at a loss in order to control the market", he said.

"Our steel, our aluminium is in their tanks and ships and planes".

He said he began talking about steel with Trump at the G7 summit in Sicily a year ago, when he was emphatic that Canada poses no national security threat to the U.S.

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

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

Trudeau is also brushing off the idea that Canada might be bullied into a deal.

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Brazil has said it will seek exemption from the newly imposed tariffs. The Canadian aluminum industry?

The steel tariff investigation was launched to see the impact of steel imports on US national security.

On the subject of national-security tariffs, Trudeau told CNN: "Canadian aluminum is in your fighter jets".

Trump's decision to slap tariffs on imported steel and aluminum could spark retaliation from other countries and lead to unforeseen consequences, the head of the World Trade Organisation said.

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 USA administration.

"There is no better security partner to the United States than Canada is so that whole issue of national security is off the table".

But the USA government also wants to make sure cheap steel being dumped into North America by Brazil, South Korea, China and other countries doesn't enter the United States through a Canadian back door.

"Ahead of actually applying border measures on offshore steel, there is a need for the Trudeau government to state its clear policy in dealing with steel diversion", Mr. Herman wrote in a memo to clients Monday.

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