Other countries with a “security relationship” to the United States may seek exemptions by opening talks with the administration on “alternative ways” to address the threats the administration alleges their products pose to national security, the official said.
“If we’re making the deal on NAFTA, this will figure into the deal, and we won’t have the tariffs on Canada or Mexico”, he continued.
The new tariffs will take effect in 15 days, with America’s neighbors indefinitely spared “to see if we can make the deal”, Trump says. Advisers have been scrambling since last week to finalize details on steel and aluminum tariffs after Trump announced he would impose them during a meeting with industry executives.
With that as a bargaining chip, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he has a “level of confidence” that Canada will secure an exemption but that he will take it “one step at a time”, since he’s dealing with an unpredictable USA administration.
Senior administration official Peter Navarro said the process was an “extremely well-vetted approach of defending our industries” using the Section 232 investigation as basis.
Canada’s position at the NAFTA table remain the same.
“Unfortunately, this happened; a lot of people were blindsided by this, so it’s raised the specter of a trade war, which won’t be good for anyone”, Lynch said yesterday during an appearance on Boston Herald Radio.
The tariffs are being cast as a national security matter. Despite criticism from lawmakers and foreign leaders, the United States president said he would not back down on his pledges.
McConnell said that he and other senators are “concerned about the scope of the proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum”.
“Steel is steel, if you don’t have steel, you don’t have a country”, he told reporters. “It would be completely unacceptable to levy tariffs on Canada because of national security reasons”.
During the press conference officially announcing the tariffs Thursday, Trump threatened again to terminate NAFTA unless “a fair deal” for American workers and farmers is reached.
The initial exemptions for Canada and Mexico are not time-limited but are created to last only long enough for the administration to assess the outlook for the NAFTA renegotiations. “I just want fairness because we have not been treated fairly by other countries”. Mexico is number two.
“The proclamation will have a clause that does not impose these tariffs immediately, on Canada and Mexico”. “But it’s not open-ended”.
More than 100 Republican lawmakers wrote to Trump, “We urge you to reconsider the idea of broad tariffs to avoid unintended negative consequences to the USA economy and its workers”. Or do we actually have plenty of steel for that, and we’re doing this to punish countries that we have a trade deficit with?
Globally, the trade barriers are likely to create unrest and volatility in the financial markets, undermining business sentiment and consumer confidence.
The prospect of further exclusions should trigger a push by USA allies in Europe, Australia and elsewhere to lobby for similar treatment to Canada and Mexico.
The looming departure of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive who has opposed the promised tariffs, set off anxiety among business leaders and investors anxious about a potential trade war.