Canada: Trump speaks to Trudeau over phone, stresses on fast NAFTA deal

Justin Trudeau Leo Varadkar

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar shows off his colorful socks to Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau. Rex Shutterstock

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.

What he heard directly from the president echoed public remarks from Trump's administration: the US trade czar recently said he wants a new NAFTA concluded within weeks, because of upcoming elections in the different countries.

Canada, the top supplier of steel and aluminium to the USA market, has been temporarily exempted from the tariffs, along with Mexico.

"We are alert to that, we are working with partners in industry, with our American partners, to ensure that does not happen", Trudeau said of so-called transshipment.

He will also visit Sault Ste.

Trump recently exempted Canada and Mexico from tariffs on steel and aluminum, although the USA government has been dropping hints that the exception is only temporary. The steel tariff investigation was launched to see the impact of steel imports on USA national security.

While Canada and Mexico secured a temporary reprieve, Trump has linked permanent exemption to a successful North American Free Trade Agreement deal, making the industry nervous. Canada produces some of the cleanest steel and aluminum in the world thanks to our focus on new technology and cleaner sources of energy.

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"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 has already spoken with President Donald Trump about foreign steel dumping and is willing to take further action, if necessary, to protect our industry.

"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. He also credited Trump for keeping a promise: he said the president told him at last year's G7 that Canada would get an exemption, and kept his word. "This process of tit-for-tat can induce at times trade wars that are in no one's interests", Azevedo said.

Azevedo said Brazil was "exploring alternatives" for responding to the tariffs.

Lawrence Valley and the Great Lakes, to the ports of the east and west coasts and urban centres across the country, Canada's steel and aluminum industries provide thousands of Canadians with good, middle class jobs and play an important role in our economy.

Azevedo said he did not know if Brazil would resort to the WTO's dispute resolution mechanism but said Brazil was not ruling it out.

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