These tariffs prevented the ratification of the Free Trade Agreement negotiated between the three countries in September 2018.
Donald Trump has removed an important obstacle to the ratification of the free trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada. The US president announced Friday the elimination of tariffs on steel and aluminum from its two neighbors.
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"We have just reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico and we will sell our products in those countries without imposing any major tariffs or tariffs," the US president said. Shortly before, a joint statement from the United States and Canada announced an agreement to lift tariffs imposed by Washington for almost a year.
Trump's "America First"
In its desire to promote "America first," Donald Trump had imposed on its trading partners, in the summer of 2017, the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in effect since 1994, accusing him of destroying thousands of industrial jobs mostly in the automotive sector due to relocations to Mexico.
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To force the hand of its partners, the White House imposed on June 1, 2018 additional tariffs on steel and aluminum. Washington, Ottawa, and Mexico City finally signed a new Free Trade Agreement (SEUMC) on September 30 after a marathon of thirteen months of tough trade negotiations.
Since then, the text is still pending ratification in all three countries, with Ottawa lifting US tariffs as a prerequisite for giving them the go-ahead.
The agreement between Washington and Ottawa to lift tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum represents a "big step" towards ratification "in the coming weeks" of the new agreement welcomed Friday Justin Trudeau, during a press conference in Hamilton, Ontario.
The new agreement includes a significant change to the so-called original rules for the automotive sector, requiring more purchases of US-made materials and components. It also includes a clause forcing Mexico to increase the sector's employees.