U.S. President Donald Trump says countries that want exemptions to steep new steel tariffs announced last week should cut America a deal.
In a press conference held with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on Tuesday, Trump said he has no plans to back away from a plan to implement a 25 per cent tariff on foreign steel and a 10 per cent tariff on imported aluminum.
But, he said, countries that don’t like the sound of that should make him an offer.
“If we’re able to make a deal with Canada and Mexico, then there will be no reason for the tariffs,” Trump said, repeating a comment he made earlier this week suggesting both countries should capitulate to U.S. demands in renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in order to avoid the costly tariffs.
“With other countries, we won’t have a choice — unless they do something for us.”
Finance Minister Bill Morneau told reporters at the same time in Vancouver that attempts by Trump to link steel tariffs with the ongoing NAFTA talks will not improve the state of negotiations.
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He repeated the comment made by the government last week that Canada will take responsive measures if the U.S. goes ahead with the tariffs.
“We see ourselves as an important part of the U.S. supply chain,” Morneau said. “We see that we’re an important part of the U.S. and NATO security alliance. So we are currently putting forward the position to the United States that we believe Canada should be exempt from any tariffs on steel or aluminum.”
The threat by Trump to implement the tariffs roiled financial markets last week and caused the head of the World Trade Organization to issue a warning on Monday, saying such measures could create risks sending the world into another recession.
Republican leaders in the U.S. are also reportedly calling on Trump to reconsider the plan.
A similar attempt by the former George W. Bush administration in 2002 resulted in the loss of 200,000 American jobs.