Trump says tariff exemptions for Canada, Mexico depend on ‘new and fair’ trade deal

Posted on: March 5th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump doubled down on his pledges to enact new steel and aluminum tariffs Monday and said any exemptions on the tariffs for border countries Canada and Mexico would be part of “new and fair” trade agreements.

The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, is now nearing the end of a year-long renegotiation process. Trump has repeatedly criticized the existing guidelines as a “bad deal” for the U.S.

Trump announced his plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 perfect tariff on imported aluminum late last week, during a meeting with Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and industry executives.

“It’ll be for a long period of time,” the president said about the proposed tariffs, which he said are being written now and will be signed next week. “We’re going to build our steel industry back, we’re going to build our aluminum industry back.”

The announcement was linked to drops in the stock market at the end of last week. Some Republican lawmakers criticized the deal, fearing increased costs to American consumers, while some Democratic lawmakers heralded the deal for protecting American industries.

Others expressed concern that such a policy could launch a global trade war, following rebukes from the officials in Canada, China, the European Union and other countries.

But Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross dismissed that notion in an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week Sunday.

“It’s some $3 billion of goods that the Europeans have threatened to put [tariffs] on,” the commerce secretary said. “Well, in our sized economy, that’s a tiny, tiny fraction of one percent. So while it might affect an individual producer for a little while, overall it’s not going to be much more than a rounding error.”

Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, released a statement in response to the proposal last week.

“Canada would view any trade restrictions on Canadian steel and aluminum as absolutely unacceptable,” the statement read.

“Any restrictions would harm workers, the industry and manufacturers on both sides of the border,” Freeland said. “The steel and aluminum industry is highly integrated and supports critical North American manufacturing supply chains. The Canadian government will continue to make this point directly with the American administration at all levels.”

But on Fox and Friends Monday morning, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro made it clear that the president is still pursuing the tariffs for all countries.

He reiterated the levels proposed, saying, “25 percent on steel and the 10 percent on aluminum — no country exclusions, firm line in the sand.”

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