Trump spoke with Canada's Trudeau about tariffs, NAFTA talks: White House

Kelly Barichello

Trump spoke with Canada's Trudeau about tariffs, NAFTA talks: White House

The prime minister is touring aluminum and steel production facilities, pledging support for workers after the US president exempted Canada and Mexico from the protectionist measures.

Trudeau is set to tour Stelco Hamilton Works and the ArcelorMittal Dofasco plant, as well as participate in a roundtable with industry leaders.

The U.S. has said further delays might imperil the negotiations, with an outsider candidate leading polls for Mexico's July 1 election, and with Trump's party in danger of losing control of the U.S. Congress.

Mr. Trudeau also took Canada's case to US cable channels on Monday with appearances on MSNBC and CNN.

"We are too. So we're glad to do it".

"We will continue working toward securing a definite and permanent exemption from those tariffs", Trudeau said earlier.

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

Today, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is in Washington for a series of meetings to push our message on tariffs and NAFTA. Mexico is also a member nation of the trade deal.

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President Trump temporarily exempted Canada and Mexico from new tariffs of 25 per cent on foreign steel and 10 per cent one on aluminum; he imposed those tariffs last week, citing China's dumping of excess product at below market rates as a national-security threat.

Trudeau told another USA network that he sees them as separate issues: "We don't link together the tariffs and the negotiations with NAFTA", he told CNBC in an interview from a Quebec aluminum plant Monday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the national security argument the U.S.is making when it comes to considering tariffs for Canadian steel and aluminum makes no sense.

Trudeau said Canada already has "significant barriers" in place to prevent low-priced steel and aluminum from being dumped there, and is prepared to work with Washington to "do even more".

"(We're) highlighting that the imposition of tariffs on Canada would end up hurting the USA nearly as much as it would hurt Canada". The Canadian aluminum industry? "Our steel, our aluminium is in their tanks and ships and planes". So that whole issue of national security is off the table.

The prime minister will be in Hamilton on Tuesday. He is scheduled to tour steel mills in Hamilton, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Regina.

"This week, I will travel across Canada to meet with the workers and businesses at the heart of our country's world-class steel and aluminum industries". While the penalties take effect later this month, Trump has encouraged countries to try negotiating exemptions for themselves.

Mr. Trudeau spoke by telephone with Mr. Trump on Monday to thank him for the "special consideration extended to Canada" while stressing that the steel and aluminum industries are critical to jobs on both sides of the border, his office said in a statement.

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