US nears metal tariffs deal with Canada, Mexico

18 Mai, 2019, 04:47 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Steve Mnuchin speaking with reporters outside the White House in Washington

Mexico is close to resolving its dispute with the United States over steel and aluminum tariffs without quotas but hopes Canada can reach a similar agreement before completing it, a senior Mexican official said on Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump has denied that trade talks with China had broken down even as he imposed more tariffs on Chinese imports and both sides prepared for another round of further tariffs, roiling global markets in recent days. None of the three countries have ratified the new U.S. -Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Mnuchin was testifying at the U.S. Senate appropriations subcommittee as Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland heads to Washington to meet Trump trade czar Robert Lighthizer in a renewed push to get the punitive tariffs lifted.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is in "active discussions" over the issue, he said.

The US, Canada and Mexico signed a revamped North American free trade pact last October, but ratification has been delayed over the tariffs row.

The Trump administration is nearing a deal with Canada and Mexico to remove USA steel and aluminum tariffs as part of discussions about a new trade agreement among the three countries, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday.

Mr Mnuchin said Wednesday this was likely to be worked out soon. However, he did not provide any details.

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Lighthizer met later with Democratic U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to discuss the path forward on a potential USMCA vote. "Ambassador Lighthizer is leading the effort on this, but I can assure you it is a priority of ours".

"I'm regularly putting forward the point of view that these tariffs are not only not helpful to the Canadian economy - to either the producers or buyers of steel - but they're also damaging to the US economy", said Morneau.

With Mr Lighthizer, Mr Mnuchin has led the U.S. delegation in 11 rounds of shuttle diplomacy aimed at resolving the trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies.

China responded in kind on Monday, raising duty rates on $60 billion in United States exports.

"I think we had a constructive meeting with the vice premier", Mr Mnuchin told lawmakers Wednesday, referring to last week's brief meetings with Chinese trade envoy Liu He.

"There's still a lot of work to do", he added.

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