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Canada FM vows at NAFTA talks to counter US steel tariffs

Canada FM vows at NAFTA talks to counter US steel tariffs

Mexico City: Canada will respond in kind to any tariffs imposed on its steel or aluminum exports to the United States, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said at the close of a seventh round of continental trade talks. “Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, Canada will take appropriate, responsive measures to defend our trade interests and our workers,” Freeland told a press conference.

Earlier US President Donald Trump said he would not back down on the tariffs, nor offer exclusions to North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico unless he gets a “fair” deal in the current negotiations to revamp the 1994 trade agreement. “No, we’re not backing down,” Trump told reporters following his Oval Office meeting with embattled Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. “There will be tariffs on steel for Canada and for Mexico.”

Canada, which has the most to lose as the top source of US steel to the US market, has called the tariffs “unacceptable.” Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo in a tweet said the threat is “the wrong way to incentivize the creation of a new & modern NAFTA.” The European Commission is drafting a list of products upon which it could impose heavy taxes to send “a political message” to Donald Trump if the US president follows through on plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum, a European source said Friday.

“There will be steel and aluminum products, but also industrial, agricultural and food products as well,” said the source, who added Europe is “ready to act once there is specific confirmation” from Washington.