U.S. President Donald Trump will decide May 1 whether to apply metal tariffs on countries that had been exempted, including Canada and Mexico, according to reports Friday.
May 1 also happens to be around the deadline for a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to be signed. After that date it is unlikely a new agreement could be ratified because of elections in the U.S. and Mexico.
Canada continues to insist U.S. tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum – are separate from NAFTA. Canada is the largest supplier of both metals to the U.S.
The eighth round talks between the three countries - Canada, Mexico and the U.S. – are tentatively set for April 8 in Washington. But the U.S. is linking tariffs and NAFTA and U.S. President Donald Trump said earlier this month the tariffs may be avoided if a new trade deal is reached.
“We have large trade deficits with Mexico and Canada,” Trump tweeted. “NAFTA, which is under renegotiation right now, has been a bad deal for the U.S.A. Massive relocation of companies and jobs. Tariffs on steel and aluminum will only come off if new and fair NAFTA is signed.”
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Trump’s tariff threat, issued Thursday in a White House statement, said he would decide by May 1 “whether to continue to exempt these countries from tariffs, based on the status of discussions.”
Officials in Mexico and Canada have not yet reacted to Trump’s tariff notice but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “a win-win-win deal is not only positive but likely.”
His optimism was echoed by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer who spoke Thursday during a Senate hearing update on NAFTA negotiations.
“I believe that substantial progress is being made but we are quickly running out of time if we are going to have this Congress vote on a final passage,” he said.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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