Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland left a meeting with United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer Monday (March 25) sounding like she is in no hurry to ratify the revised North American trade deal while American steel and aluminum tariffs still apply to Canada–U.S. trade.
“The existence of these tariffs for many Canadians raises some serious questions about NAFTA ratification,” the foreign affairs minister told reporters gathered on the sidewalk outside the USTR’s Washington offices.
“In order to move ahead with that deal, I think Canadians feel the right thing is, there should be no 232 tariffs or retaliatory tariffs between our two countries. That was what I expressed clearly to Ambassador Lighthizer. “These tariffs are completely unacceptable to Canada.”
CBC News reported that Canada, the U.S. and Mexico signed their revised trade agreement on Nov. 30 after a bruising period of negotiation.
America’s two NAFTA partners originally were exempt from its 25% steel and 10% aluminum tariffs when they were first imposed last spring through President Donald Trump’s highly unusual use of the Section 232 “national security” power.
But by July, Canadian and Mexican exports faced the extra costs as well. Both countries responded with retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports worth equivalent dollar values.
By design, the retaliatory tariffs have been damaging to many U.S. industries and sectors, including its farm sector — all part of a political strategy to convince the Trump administration to lift its punishing levies.
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