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Foreign steel in Donald Trump’s crosshairs with U.S. president expected to announce steep tariffs: reports

In this Feb. 12, 2018, photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with state and local officials about infrastructure in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster).
In this Feb. 12, 2018, photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with state and local officials about infrastructure in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster). Carolyn Kaster/AP

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to make another bold move on Thursday in keeping with his “America first” policy and it could hit Canada’s steel industry significantly, according to a major business media outlet.

On Wednesday night, Bloomberg reported “people familiar with the matter” said Trump is expected to announce high tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Politico published a similar report, citing unnamed officials with the White House administration.

The protectionist measure could prove costly for Canadian producers. A U.S. government document from December showed Canada was the biggest foreign supplier of steel to the U.S.

According to the report, Trump told aides he would like to impose tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum. Bloomberg attributed the revelation to two people who asked not to be identified because the deliberations aren’t public. According to the report, one person said the details of the announcement could change and some countries may be exempted from the tariffs.

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Earlier this month, Trump’s administration said it was pondering a number of protectionist measures with regard to steel and aluminum.

“The process is ongoing,” Canadian government spokesman Adam Austen said at the time, emphasizing that Canada buys more U.S. steel than the rest of the world’s countries combined.

“We will continue to vigorously represent Canadians’ interests with the U.S.”

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According to the Canadian Steel Association, Canada shipped over $5.87 billion worth of steel to the U.S. in 2016. In the same year, the U.S. shipped $5.96 billion worth of steel north of the border.

Elected in 2016 with a mandate that included protecting American jobs and manufacturers, Trump has tangled with other countries over trade. The U.S. is currently in the seventh round of negotiations in a bid to reshape the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico.

READ MORE: NAFTA negotiations round 7 underway as Mexico-U.S. tensions flare

Trump has said the deal needs to be amended and hinted at possibly terminating it. He has been quoted as saying things like “Canada does not treat us right,” with respect to NAFTA.

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Watch below: ‘Canada does not treat us right’: Trump questions partnership in NAFTA ultimatum

‘Canada does not treat us right’: Trump questions partnership in NAFTA ultimatum
‘Canada does not treat us right’: Trump questions partnership in NAFTA ultimatum

-With files from The Canadian Press