More Countries May Be Exempted From Steel And Aluminum Tariffs

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To justify his decision, President Trump invoked Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act 1962-an obscure law that empowers Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to determine the national security implications of any import. Quebec is a huge stakeholder, which is why the Prime Minister is visiting.

Later this week, Trudeau is due to visit the Ontario steel city of Hamilton, where workers are on edge. Canada and Mexico are both indicating a willingness to step up the pace of the talks but not at the expense of getting a good deal for all.

The only countries temporarily exempted are Canada, Mexico and Australia so far.

Canada, the biggest supplier of steel and aluminum to the United States, escaped Trump's import duties along with Mexico, but the two countries could still face duties if they fail to reach a deal with the Trump administration modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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

NAFTA talks started seven months ago and the U.S.is starting to get antsy about getting a deal. "To impose tariffs that would hurt workers on both sides of the border - it's not like that that we'll negotiate a better NAFTA deal".

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The encouraging news is that there is nearly total unanimity that the tariffs would be just as harmful to the American economy as they would on this side of the border.

The Canadian government has vowed to retaliate if duties are imposed, but the prime minister did not answer directly when asked what measures it might take.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday sought to reassure steel and aluminum workers anxious about possible U.S tariffs, telling them the government would always have their backs.

Sean Donnelly, who heads Canada's largest steel manufacturer, added that the government must put resources in place to ensure cheap steel is not diverted to Canada after Trump decided last week to impose a 25 percent tariffs on steel imports.

Trump may want to prop up the aluminum industry, for example, but to make it requires bauxite, a material that has become too expensive to mine in the United States, The Wall Street Journal reported recently.

"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. 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.

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