Trump's Tariff Surprise Now Has NAFTA Link

He says Mexico, Canada can avoid new taxes by renegotiating trade pact
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2018 10:10 AM CST
Trump's Tariff Surprise Now Has NAFTA Link
President Trump answers questions during a news conference at the White House on Feb. 23, 2018.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Trump suggested Monday that his plan to impose hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum might have some wiggle room, at least for Mexico and Canada. In morning tweets, Trump said the two nations could avoid the tariffs by giving ground in ongoing NAFTA negotiations, reports the Wall Street Journal. "Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed," he wrote. "Canada must treat our farmers much better," he added. "Highly restrictive. Mexico must do much more on stopping drugs from pouring into the U.S." The tweets come as round No. 7 of NAFTA negotiations wrap up in Mexico City, with only five of 30 major issues resolved, per Business Insider.

While Trump announced his intention to impose the tariffs last week, the formal follow-up was not expected until this week or next. "Tying NAFTA to the steel and aluminum tariffs shows that Trump is trying to use his new trade gambit as leverage, although it's unclear whether it will work," writes Damian Paletta in the Washington Post. Canada and Mexico are big suppliers of steel to the US (Canada is No. 1 and Mexico No. 4), making the looming tariffs potentially painful for both nations. Envoys were expected to press their US counterparts for more details on the tariffs and ways to avoid them in the latest NAFTA talks. (More President Trump stories.)

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