Justin Trudeau says Donald Trump has always talked straight with him


The prime minister adds he is still working hard to gain a permanent exemption to these tariffs and has made it clear the U.S. argument of national security makes no sense.

In the call with Trudeau, Trump "emphasised the importance of quickly concluding the ongoing Nafta negotiations", the White House said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland will be in Washington for three days this week - meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and key members of Congress.

"One of the things I pointed out to the president is that the steel issue would actually make it harder to move forward on NAFTA", Trudeau said.

When Trump announced the 10 per cent tariffs on aluminium and 25 per cent on steel, he said Canada and Mexico could be exempted permanently if the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) is successful.

Days ago, Trump had kind of blackmailed Canada by saying the United States will exempt its neighbouring country from the latest trade tariffs only when a new NAFTA is signed.

"He always has with me", Trudeau said.

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"(We're) highlighting that the imposition of tariffs on Canada would end up hurting the USA nearly as much as it would hurt Canada". He also credited Trump for keeping a promise: he said the president told him at last year's G7 that Canada would get an exemption, and kept his word. The Canadian aluminum industry? In Trudeau's view, the US wasn't just helping Canada - it helped itself by refraining from slapping tariffs on its No. 1 supplier of both steel and aluminum.

Trudeau accused China of flooding global markets with cheap steel on Monday, saying Canada has already taken steps to prevent "dumping".

Herman says Canada can use the Customs Tariff Act to apply temporary surcharges on steel imports from countries caught trying to do this, as well as tightening up the system that issues permits for any steel imports which he says is more a formality than a check on the system at the moment.

"On the national security side, we have always been incredibly integrated".

Trudeau is now on a tour of Canadian steel towns to show his support to workers in the industry.

Later, at a roundtable with industry leaders, he spoke again of the importance of steel to Hamilton, but said he was there to listen. Brazil, which is the second biggest supplier of steel to the United States after Canada, remains open for a dialogue to reach an understanding with the United States and is talking to other countries to learn about measures they are considering, he said.