'A negative impact': Donald Trump's NAFTA threat will backfire, Trudeau warns

'A negative impact': Donald Trump's NAFTA threat will backfire, Trudeau warns

Donnelly spoke to Reuters as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the steel city of Hamilton to reassure workers and meet with company CEOs, as part of his week-long tour to defend Canadian jobs.

According to media reports, the key conservations in winning a Canadian exemption were when Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan told Secretary of Defense James Mattis that the U.S. relies on Canadian steel to manufacture its fighter jets, and Trudeau's March 5 pledge to Trump he would ensure "Canadian steel" was manufactured in "Canadian plants" by "Canadian workers".

The American administration has expressed a desire to get a NAFTA deal in a hurry and some prominent members have been suggesting that the threat of steel and aluminum tariffs might prod the negotiations along.

Trump last week rolled out tariffs on steel and aluminum but said Canada and Mexico will be excluded and long-term exemptions would be based on the results of NAFTA negotiations.

US tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum would be "very harmful" for industry and workers in both countries, he added.

In Trudeau's view, the US wasn't just helping Canada - it helped itself by refraining from slapping tariffs on its No. 1 supplier of both steel and aluminum.

"We are negotiating the NAFTA accord in good faith and we will continue to do so but I don't want the president to think he can bring tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum without there being consequences", he told Radio-Canada earlier in the day.

Trudeau says he has already spoken with President Donald Trump about foreign steel dumping and is willing to take further action, if necessary, to protect our industry. "We had your backs last week and we always will".

Both countries are also exempt for the time being on a proposed 10 per cent tariff on aluminium exports to the States.

"One of the really strong things about our approach is that we're all saying the same kinds of things from very, very different perspectives", he told a roundtable of industry leaders in Sault Ste.

Trump, in the course of this particular phone call, showed his desire to wrap up the NAFTA deal within the coming weeks, because of the political elections which are going to occur on July 1st inside Mexico.

"There's no victor in any trade war", Didier Leroy, executive vice president at Toyota, said after Trump tweeted over the weekend that European cars "freely pour" into the U.S.

"Canadian companies, meanwhile, now have roughly $475 billion worth of cross-border investment in the USA, and NAFTA supports about 3.4 million Canadian jobs by way of trade and investments with the U.S".

He said Canada would be alert to that and work with industry partners and the United States to make sure that doesn't happen.

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