Trudeau Says Canada Does Not Link Trump Tariffs to NAFTA Deal


Justin Trudeau is telling steel workers in Sault Ste.

Trudeau launched a cross-country tour of steel and aluminum mills this week in light of potential tariffs on the metals being imposed by the USA government, even though Canada and Mexico were granted a temporary exemption from the tariffs last week by President Donald Trump.

The prime minister - on a cross-country tour of aluminum and steel factories - was speaking as Trump faced a global onslaught from countries that warned him against a damaging trade war or heading down a "dead end" road of protectionism.

Canada, the top supplier of steel and aluminum to the USA market, has been temporarily exempted from the tariffs, along with Mexico.

Initially billed as a response to US tariffs announced by President Donald Trump, Trudeau has since used the appearances to promise workers that the federal government will back them up.

Freeland fired back at Trump's threat Thursday, calling it "absolutely unacceptable" to include Canada in steel and aluminum measures and underlining that the country is also the top buyer of USA steel.

"There is a global overcapacity issue and we are very pleased to work with our allies and friends to continue to counter that problem", he said.

In a phone conversation with Trudeau earlier this week, Trump called for the talks to wrap up promptly - an echo of his administration's long-standing desire to resolve the negotiations before upcoming congressional elections in the US later this year and a Mexican presidential election July 1.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is brushing off the idea that Canada might be coerced into making concessions at the NAFTA negotiating table under the pressure of tariff threats from the United States.

"That is a concern that we share with the Americans and we're going to keep ensuring that Canadian steel is Canadian steel", Trudeau said before shaking hands and taking selfies with the assembled steelworkers. However, Conservative foreign affairs critic Erin O'Toole urged the Trudeau government to go even further, declaring that Canada has to align its interests even more closely with the United States in order to retain the bilateral strategic partnership.

"I'm really happy to be having the kind of conversations we're having this week instead of the conversations we might have had had the American decision gone differently last week", Trudeau told the workers.

Earlier in the day several politicians joined the Prime Minster at a roundtable discussion where Trudeau listened to industry leaders and union representatives.

Canada has argued that since it is a staunch ally of the United States, collaborating on national security issues at home and overseas, its steel and aluminum can't be considered a security threat.

NAFTA talks started seven months ago and the starting to get antsy about getting a deal.

Trump and his trade officials have signalled in the past they are looking for more access to Canada's dairy market within a renegotiated NAFTA deal.

Trudeau emphasized how the level of integration between the American and Canadian steel industries means both economies would suffer from trade restrictions.