US lifts steel and aluminium tariffs on Canada and Mexico

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By Michael Daventry
US lifts steel and aluminium tariffs on Canada and Mexico

The United States has agreed to lift its tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico.

The move, which removes a major obstacle to renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), will be implemented by Sunday afternoon, officials said.

President Donald Trump had imposed the tariffs — 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium imports — in March 2018 on national security grounds, saying the US market was being flooded with cheap imports from other countries, particularly China.

Under this weekend's agreement Canada and Mexico will also eliminate retaliatory tariffs on US products including cheese, milk and bourbon.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it would open the way to further talks on a revised free trade deal.

"Obviously, these continued tariffs on steel and aluminum and our countermeasures, represented significant barriers to moving forward with the new NAFTA agreement," he said on Friday.

"Now that we've had a full lift on these tariffs, we are going to work with the United States on timing for ratification, but we're very optimistic we're going to be able to move forward move forward well in the coming weeks."

Speaking in Washington, Trump said he was now hopeful NAFTA could be replaced with the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

"That deal is going to be a fantastic deal for our country and hopefully Congress will approve the USMCA quickly, and then the great farmers and manufacturers and steel plants will make our economy even more successful than it already is, if that's possible, which it is possible," he said.

Video editor • Michael Daventry