"National security issues do not apply - could not apply to Canada - when we have our aluminum in their fighter jets, our steel that goes into their armoured vehicles", Trudeau said.
American President Donald Trump's announcement of an exemption for Canada from new USA tariffs on steel and aluminum imports highlights Ottawa's intimate military-strategic partnership with United States imperialism and the determination of Justin Trudeau's Liberal government to line up with Washington in its preparations for economic and military conflict with its main rivals, above all China.
The tariffs Donald Trump unveiled last week could prompt steel to be shipped instead through Canada to skirt the levies, Trudeau said Tuesday at an ArcelorMittal Dofasco plant in Hamilton, Ontario.
His comments came amid rising trade tensions in the wake of a United States decision to impose steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
March 23 in the USA will come into effect duties on steel imports (25%) and aluminium (10%) by order of the President.
Canada is the largest foreign supplier of steel and aluminum to the U.S.
The U.S., Canada, and Mexico wrapped up their seventh round of negotiations early this month.
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Canadian negotiators are weighing the interests of the relatively small sector, responsible for about 22,000 direct Canadian jobs and $C9.0 billion ($F14b) in U.S. exports, against those of bigger industries like auto manufacturing and politically influential groups like dairy farmers.
"We're negotiating right now NAFTA and we're going to hold off the tariff on those two countries to see whether or not we're able to make the deal on NAFTA", he said. "We'll always be at the table", Champagne said.
But both Mexico and Canada have rejected Trump's linkage of the levies to the ongoing NAFTA talks.
"One of the really strong things about our approach is that we're all saying the same kinds of things from very, very different perspectives", he told a roundtable of industry leaders in Sault Ste.
Canada has argued that since it is a staunch ally of the United States, collaborating on national security issues at home and overseas, its steel and aluminum can't be considered a security threat.
"Canadian companies, meanwhile, now have roughly $475 billion worth of cross-border investment in the US, and NAFTA supports about 3.4 million Canadian jobs by way of trade and investments with the U.S".
"There's no victor in any trade war", Didier Leroy, executive vice president at Toyota, said after Trump tweeted over the weekend that European cars "freely pour" into the U.S.