Trudeau floats tariffs to prevent flood of steel through Canada

Trudeau floats tariffs to prevent flood of steel through Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admits he still has some questions about what proposed USA tariffs on our steel and aluminum exports could have on Canadian companies.

Trump has tied Canada's exemption from the tariffs to a successful and speedy conclusion to negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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 USA tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

In a statement earlier in the day, Trudeau said he would seek advice from the country's steel and aluminum workers on ways to address overcapacity in the North American and global markets.

"There is a global overcapacity issue and we are very pleased to work with our allies and friends to continue to counter that problem", he said.

Trudeau says he's been telling U.S. President Donald Trump for over a year that there is no national security threat from Canadian steel or aluminum.

"We don't link together the tariffs and the negotiations with NAFTA", Trudeau told another American media outlet.

The prime minister adds he is still working hard to gain a permanent exemption to these tariffs and has made it clear the United States argument of national security makes no sense.

"The challenge (the United States) faces is that we're there at the table, we're contributing but we're not just going to be bowled over by them", he added.

The tour was planned before the tariff exemption was confirmed but will still go ahead despite the exemption, with stops in Alma., Que, Hamilton, Ont., Sault Ste.

"I'm really happy to be having the kind of conversations we're having this week instead of the conversations we might have had had the American decision gone differently last week", Trudeau told the workers.

RONALDO SCHEMIDT via Getty Images Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, Mexican Economy Minister Idelfonso Guajardo and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer give a message to the media during the seventh round of NAFTA negotiations on March 5, 2018.

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce recently stated that as many as 40,000 local jobs could be impacted if the tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum were levelled.

He was to also visit three Canadian steel cities this week to reassure workers.

From there, he'll head to the Turvey Centre to meet with industry leaders in a roundtable discussion.

However, the key word is "temporary", particularly as NAFTA renegotiation efforts continue and the US hopes to win concessions from its NAFTA peers.

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