Economy

USA agrees to lift steel and aluminum tariffs from Canada

USA agrees to lift steel and aluminum tariffs from Canada

He urged Congress to approve a new trade pact between the three nations to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The two countries issued a joint statement on Friday confirming that they had agreed to eliminate the tariffs within 48 hours. The administration blamed Chinese overproduction for depressing global steel and aluminum prices, driving many US mills out of business.

"Ending tariffs means Canadians can get back to work", Hassan Yussuf, the president of the Canadian Labour Congress, said on Twitter.

That will put tariffs at the level they were at before the president chose to double them last August amid tensions over a since-freed American pastor who was detained in Turkey.

"We are convinced that the products hard-working Americans in the auto sector design, build, sell, and service are not a threat to our national security", the letter said.

It says the two countries will consult if there's a surge of steel or aluminum imports "beyond historic volumes of trade over a period of time" and gives the countries the right re-impose 25 per-cent duties on steel and 10-per cent on aluminum.

"The two leaders discussed the United States' Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum and Canada's retaliatory tariffs", the Prime Minister's Office said in a readout of the call.

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Justin Trudeau welcomed the removal of USA tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum with an nearly manic exultation - hugging just about anyone who came within arm's reach. "I think they finally heard us", said one source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, citing the delicate new phase of the negotiations.

In a conclusion likely to invite challenges from manufacturers and industry analysts, Trump said America's defense industrial base relied on the domestic auto sector for technological advances essential to USA "military superiority". But one industry source estimated the cost at $60-70 million a month - figures that were clearly not sustainable.

In February, the Commerce Department concluded an investigation into whether auto imports posed a threat to national security. A message was left Friday seeking an explanation of how Commerce calculated the 22%.

In 2017, General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and Tesla combined had a 44.5% share of USA auto sales, according to Autodata Corp. It had 12% of USA auto sales in 2017. Toyota, Hyundai-Kia, Subaru, Honda and others have significant research centers in the U.S.

Meanwhile, Trump is locked in a high stakes rumble with China. The Automotive Policy Council, representing the Big Three American automakers, said Friday that tariffs "would weaken global competitiveness and invite retaliation from our trading partners, which could harm jobs and investment in the U.S".

After months of deadlock, the US agreed in recent weeks to discuss a metals deal without a hard quota requirement, the industry and government and sources said.

Trump's decision, at least for now, averts what was shaping up to be a new dramatic escalation in the Trump administration's trade disputes around the world, including a trade war with China.

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