Canada and US Agree to End Tariff Standoff
OTTAWA - The nearly year-long steel and aluminun tariff tiff between Canada and the U.S. is almost over; the Canadian government has released a statement saying the two sides have agreed to eliminate the tariffs in "no later than two days".
"This is pure good news," said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a stop at the Stelco plant in Hamilton, Ontario.
The deal applies to the tariffs the U.S. imposed last June by citing national security - 25 per cent on imports of steel and 10 per cent on aluminum - as well as Canada's retaliatory tariffs on steel, aluminum and as other consumer products.
Canada has long argued the tariffs are illegal. As part of the deal, the Trudeau government has agreed to end its legal case against the U.S at the World Trade Organization on the section 232 tariffs.
The deal also includes a monitoring system to watch out for any potential surges in the metals markets.
Trudeau spoke to U.S. President Donald Trump earlier in the day, their third conversation this week. The Prime Minister's Office said the pair discussed the steel tariff issue.
The tariffs have disrupted supply chains and added extra costs for consumers and businesses across a wide range of industries on both sides of the border, and were becoming a barrier to ratifying the new North American free trade pact.
A senior source with direct knowledge of the negotiations said the Canadian side had been quietly insisting that Canada wasn't going to ratify that deal until the tariffs were lifted. The source added that Trump is looking for a trade win, given escalating tension with China.
Trudeau had been using his phone calls with Trump to point out that Canada poses no credible national security risk to the United States, said the source.
"We think it's a great victory for Canada, for the industry and the North American industry as a whole," said Jean Simard, spokesperson for the Aluminum Association of Canada. "It's everything we've always asked for."
Friday's announcement followed a week of intensified pressure.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland was in Washington, D.C., earlier this week to sit down with her American counterpart and held a series of meetings with members of Congress.
Her trip followed on two phone conversations Trudeau had with Trump within the past week, during which he asked for an end to U.S. steel tariffs and additional diplomatic assistance with Canada's ongoing dispute with China.
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