Trudeau Floats Tariffs to Prevent Flood of Steel Through Canada

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The steel tariff threat was seen by many to be an attempt by the Trump administration to pressure Canada and Mexico to complete the NAFTA talks - giving in to other USA demands or giving up some of their own -rather than risk the punishing steel and aluminum duties.

"We recognize that the American side is eager to get forward motion on NAFTA", Trudeau told CNN's Anderson Cooper, in one of his USA interviews.

Mr. Trudeau said his government is working hard to ensure that the exemptions stay in place and took issue with the U.S. President's decision to use the tariffs as a bargaining chip.

Trudeau says he will keep the pressure on Trump during the tariff negotiations, as well as on negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"We will always stand up for Canadian steel and aluminum workers".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged on Monday that he personally reassured U.S. President Donald Trump last week that Canada won't become a transit station for offshore steel and aluminum into the U.S. market.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland will be in Washington for three days this week - meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and key members of Congress.

His comments came amid rising global trade tensions in the wake of a U.S. decision to impose steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminium.

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

NAFTA talks might now enter an intense phase: "President Trump emphasized the importance of quickly concluding the ongoing NAFTA negotiations", said a readout from the White House on Monday's call with Trudeau. "Our steel, our aluminium is in their tanks and ships and planes".

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. There is no better security partner in the world.

Other stops will include Hamilton, Sault Ste. Marie and Regina this week.

The Trump administration has set tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, applicable to every country except Canada and Mexico.

Brazil, which is the second biggest supplier of steel to the United States after Canada, remains open for a dialogue to reach an understanding with the United States and is talking to other countries to learn about measures they are considering, he said.