Canada: Trump speaks to Trudeau over phone, stresses on fast NAFTA deal

16 March, 2018, 03:27 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Canada: Trump speaks to Trudeau over phone, stresses on fast NAFTA deal

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 US administration.

"There is no national security argument to be made against Canada", Trudeau said.

The prime minister says restricting Canadian steel imports would hurt the American economy.

Trump and his trade officials have signalled in the past they are looking for more access to Canada's dairy market within a renegotiated NAFTA deal. "We had your backs last week and we always will".

Freeland is coming off a tense week which started with the seventh round of NAFTA negotiations making little progress towards an agreement but ended with a sigh of relief when Canada and Mexico secured an exemption from new USA tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

But Trudeau told a U.S. TV audience he sees them as separate issues: "We don't link together the tariffs and the negotiations with NAFTA", he told CNBC in an interview Monday from a Quebec aluminum plant, where he toured the facility and promised to continue standing up for the industry.

Trudeau emphasized how the level of integration between the American and Canadian steel industries means both economies would suffer from trade restrictions.


Trudeau says Canada will not flinch in its support for workers and he hopes the threat of US tariffs can be solved in a friendly way. "We all put our efforts into globalization in the past decades, and I think we shouldn't give up that idea".

Mr. Trudeau would not specify what actions the federal government will take to shut out offshore steel. He cares for the city of Sault Ste.

The prime minister departs today for Regina, Sask., where he'll be meeting with the city's mayor and steel industry leaders this afternoon.

"We are very concerned about the actions taken by China and the dumping of steel and aluminium on the global market", Trudeau said.

Canada, the biggest supplier of steel and aluminum to the United States, escaped Trump's import duties along with Mexico, but the two countries could still face duties if they fail to negotiate a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal.

"We are alert to that, we are working with partners in industry, with our American partners, to ensure that does not happen", Trudeau said of so-called transshipment.

During his earlier visits to factories in Saguenay, Que., and Hamilton, Trudeau repeated his message that the national security argument the USA has made when it comes to tariffs makes no sense and could not apply to Canada.

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