Faltering U.S.-China trade talks, rising tariff pressure on American farmers and a rapidly disappearing opportunity to ratify the new North American Free Trade Agreement are fuelling Washington’s renewed push to negotiate the removal of steel and aluminum levies from Canada and Mexico, analysts say.
“I think we are close to an understanding with Mexico and Canada,” on resolving the tariffs, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday. He not provide any details about the potential agreement.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland was in Washington Wednesday to push for the removal of the tariffs during meetings with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
“When it comes to Canada it has still been the case for us that as long as the tariffs remain in place ratification would be very, very problematic,” Freeland told reporters on Capitol Hill after her meeting with Lighthizer and other U.S. lawmakers. She did not offer any comment on a potential deal on the metal tariffs, or provide any details of discussions between the two countries.
Freeland’s trip came on the heels of earlier discussions in Toronto with Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Marquez and top trade official Jesus Seade. Both Canada and Mexico have said they won’t ratify the new North American Free Trade Agreement with the tariffs in place.