Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may not attend a meeting with President Donald Trump and Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador next week, Politico reports.
The three leaders are supposed to meet on July 8-9 in Washington, D.C. to mark a new continental trade deal that went into effect this week.
But it doesn’t seem that Trudeau is too eager to attend the USMCA meeting.
“We’re still in discussions with the Americans about whether a trilateral summit next week makes sense,” Trudeau said during a press conference near Ottawa.
He cited concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and the U.S. threatening to impose tariffs as reasons for why he would skip the meeting.
“We’re obviously concerned about the proposed issue of tariffs on aluminum and steel that the Americans have floated recently,” he said. “We’re also concerned about the health situation and the coronavirus reality that is still hitting all three of our countries.”
The U.S. has been pushing Ottawa to put quotas on Canadian aluminum exports in order to slow a rush in shipments, according to Politico. If Canada doesn’t comply, the U.S. has threatened to put a 10% tariff in place, sources told Politico.
This wouldn’t be the first time the U.S. has imposed aluminum duties on Canada. The U.S. imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum duties on Canada and Mexico for a year before lifting them in 2019. Both countries responded with tariffs on U.S. goods.
The agreement to lift the tariffs stated the U.S. could put them back in place if it finds “imports of aluminum or steel products surge meaningfully beyond historic volumes of trade over a period of time.”
Last month, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told a Senate Finance Committee hearing of recent surges in imported steel and aluminum, “substantially from Canada, some from Mexico.”
Earlier this week, Trudeau warned that if the U.S. reinstates tariffs on Canadian aluminum it would raise input costs for American manufacturers.
“We have heard obviously the musings and proposals from the U.S. [That] perhaps there needs to be more tariffs on aluminum,” he told reporters Monday. “What we simply highlight is the United States needs Canadian aluminum. They do not produce enough, nowhere near enough aluminum in the States, to be able to fill their domestic manufacturing needs.”
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