North American stock markets up as Trump exempts Canada from tariffs

10 March, 2018, 01:56 | Author: Cary Erickson
  • European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström | Aris Oikonomou  AFP via Getty Images

Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo on Tuesday rejected making a bilateral trade treaty with the United States, saying the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is now being renegotiated, must remain a three-country accord.

Canada, the United States and Mexico have been carrying out intense negotiations to redraft NAFTA since August 2017 after U.S. President Donald Trump said the deal has been unfair to the United States.

Tariffs would increase costs on manufacturers and consumers in both the USA and Canada. "It must be that way". Mexico and Canada don't have to swallow the unreasonable demands - some say "poison pills" - that the Trump administration has introduced into the NAFTA talks.

The European Union Commissioner for Trade is warning that if tariffs are placed on European steel and aluminum, the USA could face an import tax on American products such as Levi jeans and bourbon.

In B.C., it's unsure at this point how the proposed US government's 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imported into the USA would impact Rio Tinto's BC Works in Kitimat. Trump signaled yesterday he'd hold the exemption as a bargaining chip to play if he didn't get what he wants for the USA out of the NAFTA negotiation. The European union, we can't do business in there, we're not allowed.

After a week of hints and uncertainty, President Donald Trump said Thursday he would announce tariffs on imported steel and aluminum but with temporary exemptions for Canada and Mexico as he seeks to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Still, the potential collapse of NAFTA or a global trade war could hurt Canada's economy.

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"We have large trade deficits with Mexico and Canada", Trump said. However, other steel firms, including Nucor and AK Steel experienced marginal gains.

So Trump and Lighthizer have shown Canada and Mexico what they want, and what will happen if they balk.

Technical discussions on one of the most contentious issues - USA demands for higher North American content in autos - made no progress after the US official in charge of the issue unexpectedly returned to Washington for consultations.

Canada is the top exporter to the United States of both steel and aluminium. But did hint on Twitter earlier this week that he would reconsider tariffs on Canada and Mexico if a "new & fair NAFTA agreement" is signed. "First and foremost, we will discuss the issue with the United States".

In a press conference held with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on Tuesday, Trump said he has no plans to back away from a plan to implement a 25 per cent tariff on foreign steel and a 10 per cent tariff on imported aluminum.

Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro and Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross may now be looking for a "carve-out" for Canada, that may only invite others to seek the same.

Trump's apparent take that trade is so strongly tied to manufactured goods is out of step with reality, Bonnett said. Make no mistake: If the President goes through with this, it will kill American jobs - that's what every trade war ultimately does. In a tweet, he said the " acting swiftly on Intellectual Property theft".



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