Trudeau Floats Tariffs to Prevent Flood of Steel Through Canada

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

Reacting to Trump's urge, Trudeau told CNN that Canada is glad to see the U.S. is eager to seal the deal.

It was their first conversation since Trump last week imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, raising trade tensions.

Trudeau is also brushing off the idea that Canada might be bullied into a deal.

NAFTA is an agreement which came into force from January 1994 by Canada, Mexico and United States creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America.

"The exemptions aren't a magical favour that was being done (for Canada)", Trudeau said.

He spoke to teporters and a group of ArcelorMittal Dofasco employees after touring one of the steel maker's steel galvanizing mills in Hamilton.

"We need tools to deal with this surge", he said, but added that the federal government can't wait for the traditional method of the industry taking cases to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal.

Herman says Canada can use the Customs Tariff Act to apply temporary surcharges on steel imports from countries caught trying to do this, as well as tightening up the system that issues permits for any steel imports which he says is more a formality than a check on the system at the moment. The Canadian aluminum industry?

Steel makers in Canada are pressing the federal government to make sure Canada doesn't become a dumping ground for offshore steel originally destined for the US market.

"On the national security side, we have always been incredibly integrated". There is no better security partner in the world.

The prime minister is on a cross-country tour of aluminum and steel factories to demonstrate his government's support for workers in light of potential threats to those industries from the USA administration. So that whole issue of national security is off the table.

Following Trudeau's visit to Hamilton, he will complete his tour with two more stops in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Regina this week.

When Trump announced the 10 per cent tariffs on aluminium and 25 per cent on steel, he said Canada and Mexico could be exempted permanently if the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) is successful. While the penalties take effect later this month, Trump has encouraged countries to try negotiating exemptions for themselves.

But the US government also wants to make sure cheap steel being dumped into North America by Brazil, South Korea, China and other countries doesn't enter the United States through a Canadian back door.

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