Tuesday, 19 March, 2019

Trudeau Confident About Canada's Position Over US Tariff Threat

Patty Aguilar | 10 March, 2018, 23:16

In the space of a week, US President Donald Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs went from a "no exemptions" plan to one filled with carve-outs for Canada and Mexico, and likely for other other allies and hundreds of imported products not available domestically.

When the tariff plan is unveiled, it's believed that both Canada and Mexico could be given exemptions, with the condition that a new NAFTA agreement is signed with the US.

"The process to negotiate a modernized NAFTA continues its course, independent of the (metal tariffs) or any other internal policy measure that the government of the United States takes", the Mexican statement said. Adding new elements to the negotiations to create wiggle room on big decisions was a Trump tactic familiar to David Bozell, a supporter of the president. Trump was still hearing last-minute pleas from opponents of the tariff plan, and White House officials said they couldn't predict how the day would shake out.

While Trump has tweeted that he will show flexibility to countries that treat the U.S. fairly on trade a military issues, it seems with this administration, anything can change.

The tariffs would impose a duty of 25 percent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum to counter cheap imports, especially from China, that he says undermine US industry and jobs.

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The departure of Trump's chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, who was seen as a bulwark against Trump's economic nationalism, clears the way for greater influence by trade hard-liners such as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro, Trump's trade policy adviser, and the possibility that the tariffs will be implemented. A White House official said Trump was referencing an ongoing investigation of China in which the US trade representative is studying whether Chinese intellectual property rules are "unreasonable or discriminatory" to American business.

Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association said on Friday that he had been informed about cases of steel stockpiling.

The president has said the tariffs are needed to reinforce lagging American steel and aluminum industries and protect national security.

With demand for US steel expected to increase, United States Steel Corp said it would restart one of two blast furnaces and steel-making facilities and rehire 500 employees at its Granite City, Illinois, plant.

Do what he likes and Canada - the biggest foreign supplier of steel and aluminum to the US - goes tariff-free. The strings Trump attached to his tariff exemption could tie down an elephant.

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