Canada's PM bids to reassure aluminum workers about USA tariffs

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question from founder and director David Axelrod at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics Wednesday Feb. 7 2018 in Chicago

Canada's PM bids to reassure aluminum workers about USA tariffs

Trump did say he expected both Canada and Mexico to take action to prevent other countries from sneaking steel into the U.S.by sending them to Canada or Mexico first.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he told U.S. President Donald Trump during a recent phone call that slapping duties on Canadian steel and aluminum would hurt ongoing NAFTA negotiations.

Joseph Galimberti, president of the Canadian Steel Producers Association, said Ottawa is being urged to add staff to Global Affairs Canada and hire more inspectors for the Canada Border Services Agency.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused China of flooding global markets with cheap steel Monday, saying Canada has already taken steps to prevent "dumping".

Trudeau, who is expected to travel to three other Canadian steel cities to reassure workers in the coming days, said Canada already has "significant barriers" in place to prevent low-priced steel and aluminum from being dumped there, and is prepared to work with Washington to "do even more".

"I told the president that imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum does not help with regard to NAFTA", Trudeau said Monday.

"We will continue working toward securing a definite and permanent exemption from those tariffs", Trudeau said earlier.

Following the close of the seventh round of negotiations last week in Mexico, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the U.S. wants to get a deal done in the next four to six weeks.

When Trump announced last week 10 percent tariffs on aluminum and 25 percent on steel, he said Canada and Mexico could be exempted permanently if the ongoing renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is successful.

The proclamation instead pointed to economic integration between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the fact the U.S. also exports steel to both Canada and Mexico, and the three countries' shared commitment to national security and addressing global excess capacity in steel production.

Trudeau rejected calls by some Quebec union leaders to take a harder line in NAFTA talks and leave the table if Canada can not get a better deal.

Mr. Trudeau also took Canada's case to USA cable channels on Monday with appearances on MSNBC and CNN. Marie and Regina this week. If there's a tariff on a piece of paper, turn it into a paper airplane and it's in a different category and no longer subject to a tariff.

This form of processing allows it to be stamped "made in Canada" and could avoid the USA tariff, which is why the federal enforcement officials will need to identify the country of origin of the original steel, said one industry executive who asked that his name not be used because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

The prime minister was touring an aluminum smelter in Alma, Quebec.

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