This is a decision that could accelerate the ratification of the new free trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico, replacing the Alena. On Friday, Donald Trump said he was cutting tariffs on aluminum and steel from Mexico and Canada. "We have just reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico," said the US president, noting that US products would no longer be subject to tariffs or only low tariffs.
In full renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Alena), Donald Trump imposed on June 1, 2018 a 25% tax on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports from Canada. and Mexico, which had imposed retaliatory measures in particular on American agricultural products. These customs tariffs poisoned since the diplomatic-commercial relations of the three countries.
Canada and the United States have committed to eliminating Canadian tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum in the next two days and Canada's tariffs of retaliation imposed on Canada. other. They will also end "all the proceedings against them pending at the World Trade Organization", Canada, the first foreign supplier of steel and aluminum in the United States, filed a complaint with the organization in June 2018.
China, still in the viewfinder
Finally, common measures will be taken to prevent "the importation of unfairly subsidized and / or dumped steel and aluminum" and "the transhipment of steel and aluminum manufactured Canada or the United States to the other country ". These measures are mainly aimed at China, estimated the CIBC Canadian bank. "If imports of some steel and aluminum products increased suddenly, the United States will again be able to impose customs duties," warned the services of the trade representative. And retaliation from Canada and Mexico would be limited to "steel and aluminum products".
Washington imposed these tariffs in the name of their "national security", provoking the ire of Canada which had seen there a way of additional pressure from the Trump administration to conclude a new commercial treaty. "We welcome with great enthusiasm the decision of the US President to eliminate the tariffs imposed on Mexico and Canada on steel and aluminum," tweeted Jesus Seade, chief negotiator for Mexico. "This announcement paves the way for ratification" of the Trilateral Free Trade Agreement, he said.
In its drive to promote "America first", Donald Trump had imposed on its trading partners, in the summer of 2017, the renegotiation of the Alena in force since 1994, accusing him of having destroyed thousands of mainly industrial jobs in the automotive sector due to relocations to Mexico. The new Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico (AEUMC) was signed on 30 September after tough negotiations and signed on 30 November.
The American Democrats still have to be convinced
But the text is still pending ratification in the three countries, Ottawa having made the lifting of US tariffs a condition sine qua non to ratify. This announcement represents a major step towards the ratification of the new North American Free Trade Agreement AEUMC, welcomed Friday Justin Trudeau. "These tariffs on steel and aluminum were the biggest barrier to ratification for us and for the United States of the new Alena agreement," said the Canadian Prime Minister. "Certainly we have taken a big step forward" towards this ratification, which could intervene "in the coming weeks" according to him.
The leader of the Democratic Minority in the US Senate, Chuck Schumer, however, pointed out that there are still "many" obstacles before the Democrats support the AEUMC. Canadian negotiators have resisted pressure from Americans who, according to Justin Trudeau, wanted to put in place export quotas. "The Americans wanted us to make concessions, they were asking for quotas, they wanted to put limits on our industry and we said no," said the Liberal leader, who was speaking during a visit to a steel mill. Hamilton, Ontario.
"Starting next week, Canada and Mexico will be the only two countries in the world to have full and unrestricted access to the US market," said the President of the Aluminum Association of Canada. , Jean Simard, greeting "a great victory". Finally, the first agricultural union in the United States, the American Farm Bureau Federation, saw a relief for the sector that had been retaliated. He urges the Trump administration to continue its efforts to further open the European, Chinese and Japanese markets.