The 25 per cent tariffs on steel imposed on Canada and Mexico by U.S. President Donald Trump will continue, despite a new trade deal between the three countries.
The tariffs will remain “until such time we can do something … so our steel industry is protected,” Trump said at a press conference at the White House on Monday morning.
“Steel is staying where it is.”
He said quotas are an example of something that could be instituted to allow for tariffs to be lifted.
Trump’s comments come just hours after the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement was announced.
The USMCA will replace NAFTA, which negotiators have been working on for over a year.
“We have a great relationship with Canada. I think now it will be better,” Trump said.
WATCH: Trump thanks Mexico’s Nieto, Justin Trudeau over USMCA
Trump said “for the most part” tariffs were over, but that steel tariffs would remain. He also credited tariffs for helping complete the trade deal earlier.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “the Americans have indicated they are more than willing to work on” eliminating the tariffs, but didn’t give any timeline for when they may be lifted at a press conference Monday afternoon.
“We recognize that moving forward and eliminating the tariffs remains a priority,” Trudeau said.
“We’re going to continue discussions on these issues knowing we’ve made good progress and there’s still more work to do.”
Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said earlier Monday he had hoped a trade dispute with the Trump administration over steel could be resolved before a new trade deal is signed.
“I think it would be very positive, it would be a good sign (if) we could resolve this controversy before the agreement is signed towards the end of November,” Videgaray told Mexican television station Televisa in an interview.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told reporters in Washington that the United States would be willing to discuss the matter “after we take a few days to catch our breath.”
Trump did not mention the tariffs on aluminum, which were imposed on Canada and Mexico at the same time as the steel tariffs.
Both Mexico and Canada have imposed retaliatory tariffs on the U.S.
Meanwhile, steelworkers in Canada feel left behind after the United States Mexico Canada Agreement was announced because steel and aluminum tariffs are still in place despite the new deal.
The United Steelworkers said the 25 per cent steel and 10 per cent aluminum tariffs should have been eliminated when the new trade deal was made.
National director Ken Neumann said the government didn’t have steelworkers’ backs when it agreed to this deal.
“This government did not have our back for the thousands and thousands of workers in the steel and aluminum industry across this country, so needless to say, I’m not very happy about what has transpired, these are illegal tariffs – Canada is not a violator of the national security.”
“We’re starting to see the damage to our small businesses, folks are having a difficult time sourcing their materials.
“All these tariffs have done is increased the costs of the auto parts and to the vehicles in both sides of Canada and the United States.”
Neumann said Canada needs to find a way to immediately get rid of these “unwarranted and illegal” tariffs.
*with files from Reuters and Michelle Morton