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Mexico says close to US metals tariff deal, waiting for Canada

Mexico says close to US metals tariff deal, waiting for Canada

Mexico is close to resolving its dispute with the United States over steel and aluminum tariffs without quotas but is waiting for Canada to reach a similar agreement before completing it, Mexico's top trade official said on Wednesday.

"We made the case as we have been doing for some time that the best outcome for both Canadians and Americans would be to lift those tariffs and to have free trade between our two countries who have this fantastic trading relationship in place", Freeland told reporters after the meeting in Washington.

The removal of the two tariffs has become a notable sticking point for both Canada and Mexico directly stopping them from signing the newly re-negotiated NAFTA.

Mexico has gotten out of them by agreeing to stricter monitoring and the tracking of its own steel and aluminum imports, to ensure its exports to the US aren't simply China or another country's shipments trying to evade USA tariffs.

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is now in Washington, D.C., and discussed the tariffs with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this morning.

Mnuchin acknowledged what business leaders in all three countries, as well as USA lawmakers on both sides of the political divide, have been saying: that the tariffs must be lifted for the newly negotiated North American free-trade deal to be ratified by legislators.

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Mnuchin said Wednesday this was likely to be worked out soon. He did not provide any details about the potential agreement.

"I'm regularly putting forward the point of view that these tariffs are not only not helpful to the Canadian economy - to either the producers or buyers of steel - but they're also damaging to the US economy", said Morneau.

The steep USA tariffs on steel and aluminum imposed last year on national security grounds have become a major stumbling block to ratifying a new North American trade pact the three countries negotiated last year.

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Mr Lighthizer also was due to meet with congressional leaders later Wednesday, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

With US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Mnuchin has led the US delegation in 11 rounds of shuttle diplomacy aimed at resolving the US-China trade war. "We're continuing discussions. There's still a lot of work to do".