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April 8, 2019

Canada: New NAFTA Won’t Pass Without End To Section 232 Metals Tariffs

Canadian officials made clear – again – last week that, for the Trudeau administration, the fate of the United States, Mexico Canada Agreement (the USMCA, often referred to as the “new NAFTA”) and the fate of the United States’ Section 232 tariffs are tied.

As Bloomberg reported, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland issued a warning last week that the nation’s parliament would not move ahead with USMCA ratification unless the United States ends the Section 232 tariffs that are currently in place on Canadian steel and aluminum products.

Speaking outside the U.S. State Department last Thursday, Freeland said, “I think for Canadians, the 232 steel and aluminum tariffs from the outset have been of huge concern to our country. They are illegal, they are unjustified, and they are, frankly absurd.” Canadian policymakers have not introduced legislation to ratify the deal to the House of Commons, and, as Bloomberg explained, “the clock is running to do so” since Canada “would need to pass any such legislation by the second or third week in June if it wants it to clear lawmakers before the summer recess and election …”

As Connecting the Dots has reported over the past two months, U.S. lawmakers in both political parties also want the Section 232 tariffs to be lifted on North American trading partners before members of Congress consider ratifying the USMCA.