U.S. to remove tariffs on Canadian metals, Mexico deal imminent

WASHINGTON/OTTAWA (Reuters) – The United States and Canada on Friday announced a deal to remove tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum in exchange for new curbs to keep dumped metals from China and other countries out of the United States, paving the way for a similar pact with Mexico.

The quota-free deal will eliminate the U.S. metals tariffs within 48 hours as well as Canada’s retaliatory tariffs on some $12 billion worth of U.S. products, including pork, beef and bourbon.

The 25% tariff on steel and 10% tariff on aluminum from Canada and Mexico were a major hurdle to ratification of the new trilateral trade deal to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

Several prominent U.S. lawmakers had said that a vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was impossible until after the metals tariffs — and retaliatory measures aimed largely at U.S. farmers — were lifted.

News of the deal to put in place a “monitoring system” for steel and aluminum transshipments broke after U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed the tariffs earlier on Friday.

Trudeau is scheduled to speak to reporters on Friday afternoon after he meets with steel workers at Stelco Holding Inc steel mill in Hamilton, Ontario, his spokesman said on Twitter.

The two leaders spoke “about Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, and Canada’s retaliatory tariffs,” Cameron Ahmad, Trudeau’s communications director, wrote. “They also discussed China, uranium, and the new NAFTA.”

A senior Mexican official said that once the deal is announced and implemented, Canada and Mexico will lift retaliatory tariffs on billions of dollars of U.S. products.

The deal announced on Friday leaves room for the reimposition of tariffs if imports of steel or aluminum “surge meaningfully beyond historic volumes” over a period of time, according to the joint statement. But any retaliation for such action would be limited to the steel and aluminum sectors.

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