Canada's Trudeau tells metal workers 'we have your backs'

Steel mills are seen in Hamilton Ont

Steel mills are seen in Hamilton Ont

High-ranking Belgian officials played down a perceived snub of the Belgian king and queen by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the royal couple carried on day two of their week-long state visit to Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada already has "significant barriers" to prevent low-priced steel and aluminum from being dumped in this country, and is prepared to work with Washington.

Regina was the final stop on Trudeau's tour of metal cities which began in Alma, Que., moved to Hamilton on Tuesday before visiting Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., that it makes no sense for the reverse its decision to exempt Canada from trade tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The prime minister is touring aluminum and steel production facilities, pledging support for workers after the US president exempted Canada and Mexico from the protectionist measures.

Trump did say he expected both Canada and Mexico to take action to prevent other countries from sneaking steel into the sending them to Canada or Mexico first.

The U.S., Canada, and Mexico wrapped up their seventh round of negotiations early this month.

"We believe that protectionism is a dead end", French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is brushing off the idea that Canada might be coerced into making concessions at the NAFTA negotiating table under the pressure of tariff threats from the United States.

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During his earlier visits to factories in Saguenay, Que., and Hamilton, Trudeau repeated his message that the national security argument the USA has made when it comes to tariffs makes no sense and could not apply to Canada.

Prime Minister Trudeau is in steel country this week on that three-day tour created to shore up the industry.

"The exemption represented a positive step in the right direction but we still have a lot more work to do", Trudeau told the room full of aluminum workers.

Trudeau said Trump urged a quick deal on the NAFTA talks that have dragged on since last August and an eighth round of discussions are slated for Washington at an as-yet unannounced date.

"The U.S. hadn't always thought through exactly what they wanted".

The Trump administration has set tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, applicable to every country except Canada and Mexico.

"Canadian companies, meanwhile, now have roughly $475 billion worth of cross-border investment in the USA, and NAFTA supports about 3.4 million Canadian jobs by way of trade and investments with the U.S".

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