Trade Cases

Canada Wants Tariffs Lifted Before Ratifying USMCA

Written by Sandy Williams

Canada is stepping up its efforts to convince the Trump administration to lift the Section 232 restrictions on steel and aluminum.

After meeting with Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley earlier in the week, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland appealed to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday for help in removing the tariffs.

“We spoke a lot about the [Section] 232 steel and aluminum tariffs and I explained why Canada is so strongly opposed to them and why Canada believes they must be lifted,” said Freeland to reporters.

Discussions with Pelosi and her fellow Democrats included the impact of Canada’s retaliatory measures and the upcoming ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“The Canadian position is that now that we have concluded our trade negotiations with the United States, that is all the more reason why these tariffs ought to be lifted,” she said.

Retaliatory tariffs have had a significant impact on shipments of steel from the United States. Commerce Department statistics show U.S. steel exports to Canada have plunged since Canada’s retaliatory measures went into effect. Shipment volumes that averaged 406,427 metric tons per month fell 38.5 percent in the five months following implementation of Canada’s trade measures.

After meeting with Freeland, Grassley expressed doubt that Canada and Mexico would ratify the USMCA while the tariffs are still in place. Complicating the issue further is the upcoming Canadian elections in October. “Canada isn’t going to be considering anything like this during their election season starting in June, which ends in their October election,” he said. “So it’s very, very important that the White House get on board of doing away with these tariffs so we can get this thing not only before the Congress of the United States, but before the Mexican Senate and the House of Commons in Canada.”

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