Trump administration officials are threatening to reimpose tariffs on Canadian aluminum if Ottawa does not swiftly agree to cut the amount of the metal exported to the U.S., said three industry sources on both sides of the border with knowledge of the confidential discussions.
Deputy U.S. trade representative Jeffrey Gerrish told Canadian Ambassador Kirsten Hillman in a Friday phone call that Canada has until July 1 to agree to export control measures, such as quotas, or Robert Lighthizer, the administration’s trade chief, will recommend that President Donald Trump reimpose tariffs, one of the sources said.
A Canadian government official said Ms. Hillman discussed aluminum and steel exports with top officials in Mr. Lighthizer’s office on Friday.
The White House is also considering reimposing steel tariffs on Canada, the three industry sources said, but appears to be moving more slowly on that decision. The sources were not authorized to speak publicly about the content of the talks.
The threats raise the prospect of a renewed trade war even as both countries reel from the COVID-19-induced economic collapse. And they come the week before the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is set to take effect on July 1.
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