Canada won’t ratify new NAFTA until steel and aluminum tariffs lifted, warns key U.S. Senator – by Naomi Powell (Financial Post – February 14, 2019)

Canada and Mexico won’t consider ratifying the revised North American Free Trade Agreement unless the United States lifts its tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley said Tuesday.

Grassley, who held meetings with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexico’s Ambassador to the U.S. Martha Bárcena Coquilast week, said the levies are now the “biggest impediment” to approving the deal.

“The Senate in Mexico is not going to take it up until the tariffs are off,” Grassley said during a call with reporters. “The House of Commons in Canada’s not going to take it up if it’s not there soon after March 1 and it’s not going to be there unless the tariffs are off. And even Republicans and Democrats in the Congress of the United States say those tariffs have to go off.”

Grassley, chair of the finance committee responsible for guiding the deal to approval in the U.S. Senate, said Canada’s upcoming federal election is adding to the urgency of lifting the tariffs in order to push the trade agreement through.

“Canada isn’t going to be considering anything like this during their election season starting in June which ends in their October election,” he said. “So it’s very, very important that the White House get on board of doing away with these tariffs so we can get this thing not only before the Congress of the United States but before the Mexican Senate and the House of Commons in Canada.”

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