United States President Donald Trump on Friday announced a deal to lift tariffs on steel and aluminium imported from Canada and Mexico that had halted discussions on a new North American free trade agreement and complicated relations between America and its neighbours, The New York Times reported.
“I am pleased to announce we have just reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico,” Trump said. “We will be selling our product into those countries without the imposition of tariffs.”
The statement came moments after Canada released the text of the agreement between Ottawa and Washington to eliminate US tariffs on steel and aluminium, and Canada’s retaliatory measures, within two days, CNBC reported. Soon after, Mexico confirmed it had reached a similar agreement with the US and promised to ease pending legal challenges it had mounted against the US decision last year in the World Trade Organisation.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters that the normalisation of trade relations with the US was “pure good news”. He said the lifting of the tariffs could help clear the the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which was reached late last year, get ratified. “We are very optimistic we will be able to move forward in coming weeks,” Trudeau added.
Canada and Mexico had refused to ratify the new trade agreement, the successor to the current North American Free Trade Agreement, with the restrictions in place. It was signed in November. American legislators of both parties had also insisted that tariffs on steel and aluminium must be lifted before votes would be held.
Trump had cited a national security threat when he imposed tariffs of 25% and 10% on steel and aluminium imports last year. Canada and Mexico, along with a number of US legislators, had asked why the Trump administration considers allies a threat. Canada then implemented retaliatory tariffs of 25% on a host of steel and aluminium products and 10% on goods, including pizza, quiche, whiskies, toilet paper and inflatable boats, from July. Many of products were chosen for their political rather than economic impact.