Canada wins welcome but uncertain tariff reprieve

  • Canada wins welcome but uncertain tariff reprieve

Canada wins welcome but uncertain tariff reprieve

We understand why Canadians are concerned with the NAFTA renegotiations.

The EU's Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom has met with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer amid efforts for the European Union to secure an exemption from steel and aluminium imports imposed by US President Donald Trump.

European Union, Japanese and US trade officials confer at EU headquarters in Brussels, March 10, 2018.

U.S. President Donald Trump set import tariffs on Thursday of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium, to come into force in 15 days. The Trudeau government is failing to take these trade disputes and other trade irritants seriously.

The EU insists that it is committed to open, global trade, and that Trump's tariffs are a protective measure to prop up USA industry that could undermine the worldwide trading system.

"We call for calm-headed behaviour", he told reporters.

But after two-way talks with Lighthizer, Malmstroem tweeted: "No immediate clarity on the exact United States procedure for exemption however, so discussions will continue next week".

"He only explained the schedule and the procedures", he said.

But she warned that if the issue can't be resolved bilaterally or through the World Trade Organization, then "we will have to protect our industry with rebalancing measures". "We will look at the impact on Japanese businesses and make a final decision".

In reaction, Iranian lawmaker Ramezan-Ali Sobhanifar said, "Considering the fact the U.S. is a major consumer of steel, the tariff increase could push major steel producers to look for new markets".

The actual formal documents specifically state that Canada and Mexico are a special case, given the continent's shared commitment to mutual security, an integrated defence industry and the shared fight against dumped steel and that the best way to address USA concerns - "at least at this time" - is by continuing discussions.

The only two countries escaping tariffs were America's neighbours: Canada and Mexico.

Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen warned Washington on Friday not to expect any concessions to win an exemption.

"We feel they (steel prices) will continue to go up", said a third source.

Despite his Conservative Party's place in opposition, Fast said he had full confidence in Canada's negotiation team that has been meeting with Mexican and American counterparts in recent months.

The EU is also looking at "safeguard" measures to protect its industry - restricting the bloc's imports of steel and aluminium to stop foreign supplies flooding the European market, which is allowed under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

It has already started monitoring incoming metal flows to see whether a surge occurs.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday threatened to hit big-name United States brands such as Harley Davidson motorbikes and Levi's jeans with import duties, prompting Trump to fire back a threat to tax cars from the EU.

Trump argues the tariffs are created to protect and national security.

The rumblings of a trade war continue as the European Union warns Trump that they will seek "re-balancing measures" should the new steel and aluminum tariffs include European Union countries.