President Donald Trump lifted steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico Friday (May 17) afternoon, a move designed to ease one area of tensions even as the President’s wider trade agenda faces an uncertain future.

CNN reported that a joint statement from the U.S. and Canadian governments said the tariffs — which had been in place for a year — would be removed within two days. The two sides agreed on monitoring and enforcement mechanisms to prevent steel dumping that might affect prices.

The announcement came a day after the Trump administration announced it would delay a decision on imposing new tariffs on foreign automobiles, in part because it said it was working to negotiate new trade agreements with Japan and the European Union.

Taken together, the two moves amount to attempt to ease global trade tensions at a moment when markets and investors are still reeling from Trump’s decision to apply new tariffs on China after trade negotiations with Beijing collapsed last week. China has said it would retaliate with its own escalated tariffs on U.S. exports.

Trump does not appear poised to quickly end that standoff, and officials say talks with the Chinese are at a standstill as both sides regroup from the setback. US negotiators were expected to travel to Beijing in the near future to resume talks, but Chinese officials have cast doubt on the likelihood that trip would happen anytime soon.
Trump is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the end of June at a G20 summit in Japan, and the prospect of U.S.-China trade tensions being resolved before then are slim, according to officials.

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