Metal tariffs

President Donald Trump said May 17 the U.S. will lift steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico, boosting efforts to encourage lawmakers to ratify a new North American trade deal.

“I’m pleased to announce that we’ve just reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico and will be selling our product into those countries without the imposition of tariffs or major tariffs,” Trump said at an event last Friday. “Hopefully Congress will approve the USMCA quickly.”

In a joint statement May 17, Canada said it will lift retaliatory duties on U.S. products as part of the deal, which will take effect within two days. Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Jesus Seade, in a Twitter post, welcomed Trump’s removal of the duties. Both nations suggested it would open the way for their lawmakers to approve the new trade pact.

The move will lift the 25% steel and 10% aluminum tariffs the U.S. placed on the two trading neighbors almost a year ago in the name of national security. The decision sparked tit-for-tat duties from Canada and Mexico on U.S. farming goods and other products, and became an obstacle for lawmakers in all three nations to ratifying the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

As part of the agreement, the U.S. will be able to re-impose the tariffs on metals imports if not enough is done to prevent any surge of metals imports beyond historical levels.

The nations have also agreed to ramp up efforts to trace where the metals have come from originally, to stop the diversion of shipments from other nations to dodge tariffs.

“We thank the administration for ending a trade dispute that has placed enormous financial strain on American pork producers,” David Herring, president of the National Pork Producers Council, said in a statement following the announcement.

“Mexico's 20% retaliatory tariff on U.S. pork has cost our producers $12 per animal, or $1.5 billion on an annualized, industry-wide basis. Removing the metal tariffs restores zero-tariff trade to U.S. pork's largest export market."

Updated Monday, May 20, 11:45 a.m.