Deal to end U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum

18 May, 2019, 03:57 | Author: Regina Silva
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While the tariffs helped many US steel and aluminum makers, the retaliatory tariffs hurt other sectors of the USA economy, such as agriculture.

The Trump administration reached a deal today to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico.

Both Canada and Mexico argued for 14 months that their metals industries posed no security threat as their economies are integrated with the United States, and challenged the tariffs before the World Trade Organization. Trump had taken offence to Trudeau's pushback, at one point dispatching senior aides to publicly disparage the prime minister.

Spokespeople for U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He urged Congress to approve a new trade pact between the three nations to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. If there is a surge in an individual product, the importing country can re-impose tariffs on that product.

Trump said in a proclamation released in Washington on Friday that he agreed with the conclusion by the department that imports of cars and their parts represent a national security threat. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Twitter that he'll meet with Trudeau in Ottawa on May 30 discuss advancing USMCA.

Trudeau offered a shout-out to Canadian unions for their support, and said it helped the government hold firm to USA demands that it submit to quotas before lifting the tariffs.

"When it comes to the new agreement, House Democrats continue to have a number of substantial concerns related to labor, environment, enforcement, and access to affordable medicines provisions".

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Ford issued a statement, without naming Trudeau, that said he was "pleased" on behalf of his province's workers that the tariffs were coming off.

Trump's tariffs have tested the bilateral relationship with Canada, especially during the NAFTA negotiations a year ago.

Almost 160 bipartisan members of Congress urged the top White House economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, in a letter earlier this month not to place tariffs as high as 25% on vehicles entering the US. Jean Simard, president and CEO of the Canadian Aluminum Association, says the deal will put "an end to the harmful uncertainty that is impeding the development of the Canadian and North American aluminum industry". By sowing the seeds of uncertainty, he may have persuaded business leaders that future investment should be located inside USA tariff walls that, even if they have been lowered for now, can easily be raised again.

A U.S. Commerce Department review found that imports of automobiles and some parts could hurt U.S. national security, but Trump chose to wait 180 days before imposing tariffs and ordered new talks to deal with the issue. Canada retaliated a month later with its own tariffs on a list of American products made with US steel and aluminium. If tariffs are reimposed, retaliation would be limited to the steel and aluminum sectors.

Flavio Volpe, the head of Canada's auto parts industry group, said the tenor of talks had markedly improved.

"The European Union treats us, I'd say, worse than China - they're just smaller", Trump said at an event.

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