Justin Trudeau Phones Donald Trump

Erika Holt
March 15, 2018

The prime minister has been touring communities across the country with a major stake in aluminum and steel production.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada already has "significant barriers" to prevent low-priced steel and aluminum from being dumped in this country, and is prepared to work with Washington. Canada and Mexico were temporarily exempt from the tariffs - but the Trump administration has suggested that'd depend on a new NAFTA deal.

The White House said Trump emphasized on that call "the importance of quickly concluding the ongoing NAFTA negotiation" while Trudeau said he warned that slapping tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum would only serve to harm the NAFTA talks and would run counter to Trumps stated goals of saving American jobs and lifting the US economy.

Canada is the United States' largest foreign provider of steel and aluminum, sending about 85 per cent to the U.S.

Following the close of the seventh round of negotiations last week in Mexico, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the U.S. wants to get a deal done in the next four to six weeks.

"We don't link together the tariffs and the negotiations with NAFTA", Trudeau told another American media outlet.

"(That would) ensure the vitality of United States and North American manufacturing industries (as well as) protect the economic and national security of the United States".

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The President and CEO of Dofasco says he is optimistic with Trudeau's work. "We'll always be at the table", Champagne said.

At first, U.S. President Donald Trump said he wanted to rip up the North American Free Trade Deal.

Only days after his Friday talk with the premier, Justin Trudeau will be back in Regina on Wednesday for a sequel, including meetings with local steelworkers and the mayor.

From there, he'll head to the Turvey Centre to meet with industry leaders in a roundtable discussion.

These include: dramatically limiting Canadian and Mexican access to U.S. government procurement contracts; a 50 percent USA content and 85 percent North American content requirements for automobiles to be tariff-free; and the dismantling of Canadian barriers on dairy and poultry imports.

Trudeau emphasized how the level of integration between the American and Canadian steel industries means both economies would suffer from trade restrictions.

"There's no victor in any trade war", Didier Leroy, executive vice president at Toyota, said after Trump tweeted over the weekend that European cars "freely pour" into the U.S.

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