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Trump delays decision on tariffs for Canadian steel, aluminum

Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sat Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

U.S. President Donald Trump has extended the exemptions on steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and other U.S. allies including Mexico and the European Union.

The extension comes as Canada and the U.S. continue negotiations over NAFTA, where the issue of tariffs has been an irritant.

It’s unclear whether the matter could become a more significant challenge to overcome in discussions.

READ MORE: Chrystia Freeland says progress made as another round of NAFTA talks wraps up

Trump announced the extension while also announcing deals with South Korea, Argentina, Australia and Brazil.

WATCH:  Prior to the extension, Trudeau commented Monday saying his government has stressed the deep connection with the U.S.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau comments as exemptions set to expire on tariffs of steel, aluminum' Trudeau comments as exemptions set to expire on tariffs of steel, aluminum
Trudeau comments as exemptions set to expire on tariffs of steel, aluminum – Apr 30, 2018

“The Administration is also extending negotiations with Canada, Mexico, and the European Union for a final 30 days,” a statement from the White House reads.

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Trump imposed a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminum in March, but granted temporary exemptions to Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the European Union, Australia and Argentina. The temporary exemptions were due to expire at 12:01 a.m. May 1.

Speaking in a press conference earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked specifically whether he had secured an exemption for Canada but offered little apart to say he was “optimistic.”

“The American administration understands it would hurt American jobs as much as it would hurt Canadian jobs,” said Trudeau, touting the tightly-integrated nature of the Canadian and American industrial supply chains.

“We continue to work with the administration but we are optimistic they understand this would be a bad thing for both of our economies.”

WATCH BELOW: Trump assured Trudeau there would be no steel, aluminum tariffs a year ago: Trudeau

Click to play video: 'Trump assured Trudeau there would be no steel, aluminum tariffs a year ago: Trudeau' Trump assured Trudeau there would be no steel, aluminum tariffs a year ago: Trudeau
Trump assured Trudeau there would be no steel, aluminum tariffs a year ago: Trudeau – Mar 12, 2018

Chrystia Freeland’s press secretary responded to a request for comment from Global News, optimistic that the U.S. Administration also feels that the proposed tariffs would also hurt American jobs.

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“Canada will continue to work to secure good, stable jobs for  steel and aluminum workers on both sides of the border. As the Prime Minister said today, ‎we remain confident that the US Administration understands that tariffs would hurt American jobs as much as they would hurt Canadian jobs,” said Freeland’s press secretary Adam Austen in a statement.

“Canada and the United States have the greatest economic and security partnership of any two countries in the world.  We’re staunch allies in NORAD, in NATO, and on the border.  Canadian steel and aluminum is used to build U.S. armoured vehicles and in U.S. Air Force jets.

*with files from Amanda Connolly, Reuters, Mike Le Couteur

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