Tuesday, 22 October, 2019

NAFTA unresolved, steel tariffs hanging after Freeland, Lighthizer meeting

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Ottawa NAFTA unresolved, steel tariffs hanging after Freeland, Lighthizer meeting
Steven Clarke | 02 June, 2018, 01:57

It is not entirely clear if talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement are the primary objective of Chrystia Freeland's visit, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken recently over the phone with U.S. President Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are also working to get a deal on a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement in time for the current iteration of the U.S. Congress, and ahead of what's expected to be a turning-point election in Mexico on July 1. The probe could lead to new US tariffs similar to those imposed on imported steel and aluminum in March.

"Canada considers it frankly absurd that we would in any way be considered to be a national security threat to the United States", she said of the tariff threat, which comes under Sec. The tariffs are potentially crippling, with the latest threat from the US administration a 25% tariff on imported vehicles and auto parts.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a message for Donald Trump on Nafta: Canada would rather see a trade deal die altogether than accept certain hardline demands.

Canadian government officials have said they are prepared to impose retaliatory tariffs should the Trump administration make a move but have not revealed what they have in mind.

A spokesman for U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Freeland would meet the U.S. trade chief on Tuesday, but did not give details of the meeting.

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"... I would like to absolutely assure Canadians particularly those who work in the steel and aluminum industries that the government is absolutely prepared to and will defend Canadian industries and Canadian jobs". It has come down to Trump threatening to impose the tariffs if Mexico and Canada don't cave to US demands on NAFTA, and Canada refusing to link the tariffs to NAFTA. "We will respond - we will respond appropriately".

Nevertheless, Freeland left Washington without any firm guarantees that Canada will be exempted from tariffs.

Trump continues to throw "so many ridiculous proposals on the table" that it's clear to Dias "the man does not want a deal.because he figures he's politically much better off heading into the USA primaries saying 'Listen, I've got tariffs, I'm retaliating, I'm fighting all these countries that have ripped us off for years, I'm playing absolute political hardball and I need (Republicans in) the senate and the House (of Representatives) in order to maintain it". "It's going to be important for us to stay very focused", Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, told CBC News.

Mexico was not at Tuesday's meeting.

Trudeau has also been talking by phone with Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in recent days, despite dwindling hope of reaching a deal on updating NAFTA. But NAFTA stakeholders and observers remain skeptical that she will be able to accomplish anything substantial.

"There is definitely a path forward and we are making progress", Freeland said.

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