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American customers stockpile Canada steel as tariffs loom

American customers stockpile Canada steel as tariffs loom

The White House on Wednesday raised the possibility that impending hefty USA tariffs on steel and aluminum imports could exclude a clutch of countries other than Canada and Mexico as President Donald Trump planned to authorize the measures on Thursday.

Trump planned to have a meeting Thursday to discuss tariffs. He has tried to use the tariffs as leverage in ongoing talks to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement, suggesting Canada and Mexico might be exempted from tariffs if they offer more favorable terms under NAFTA.

"The process to negotiate a modernized NAFTA continues its course, independent of the (metal tariffs) or any other internal policy measure that the government of the United States takes", the Mexican statement said.

Canada and Mexico are exempt from the tariffs, but only conditionally and for now.

Trump said on Monday that Canada and Mexico would only be excluded after the successful renegotiation of NAFTA.

"If he doesn't see that there's room to maneuver, he'll create some", said Bozell, president of For America, a conservative grassroots political group. Trump was still hearing last-minute pleas from opponents of the tariff plan, and White House officials said they couldn't predict how the day would shake out.

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The president has said the tariffs are needed to reinforce lagging American steel and aluminum industries and protect national security.

Yes, Canada and Mexico are - for now - exempt from the 25 per cent duty on steel and the 10 per cent duty on aluminum the USA president announced Thursday.

"We are continuing to push on getting the right deal for Canada, getting the right deal for Canadians, getting the right deal for everyone". Trudeau also spoke on Thursday with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, prominent Republican critics of the tariffs, the prime minister's office said.

Trump ordered a probe into whether steel imports threaten USA national security last April.

Republican congressional sources said Ryan and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady had been pressing Trump all week to avoid across-the-board steel and aluminum tariffs that would hurt US allies, and were working to suggest ways to narrow the tariffs further. The strings Trump attached to his tariff exemption could tie down an elephant. "Do you know quite how much US steel Canada buys?" said another person familiar with Canada's lobbying effort.


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