Canada is threatening to not ratify the renegotiated North American free-trade pact if U.S. President Donald Trump doesn’t first remove steel and aluminum tariffs, in a bid to restart serious talks over the punitive duties.
Canadian officials have been privately delivering this warning to their U.S. counterparts and members of Congress for several weeks, said government sources with knowledge of the discussions, before Transport Minister Marc Garneau went public with a version of the message on Sunday.
The move is designed to use Canada’s last opportunity to leverage the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) – one of Mr. Trump’s priority policies – to put pressure on the White House into ending its trade war with Ottawa.
Mr. Trump on Monday seemed to acknowledge Canadian ratification of the USMCA was on his mind. “They have to get it approved also. We have to get it approved. Let’s see what happens,” he said at the White House.
The United States offered to lift the steel and aluminium tariffs last fall if Canada agreed to quotas on the metals that would have cut exports by as much as 20 per cent, Canadian government and U.S. industry sources said. Canada balked.
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