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U.S. Metals Tariffs Would Hit Canada Much Harder Than Mexico

Canada has the most to lose among Nafta partners if Donald Trump presses ahead with plans to slap steel and aluminum tariffs on his neighbors.

Canadian and Mexican exports of the two metals, along with iron and related products, to the U.S. reached $24.6 billion in 2017, a level surpassed only twice before, according to American data dating back to 1996. But the balance is tilted: 71 percent of those U.S. imports came from Canada.

The northern country’s major steel producers are ArcelorMittal Dofasco, owned by Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal; Algoma, owned by privately-held Essar Global Fund Ltd.; and Stelco Holdings Inc., majority-owned by New York-based Bedrock Industries Inc. London-based Rio Tinto Plc, which ships more than 1.4 million metric tons of aluminum to the U.S. annually from Canada, said last week it would continue to push for an exemption given the highly integrated Canada-U.S. market for autos and other manufactured goods.

Heavy Metal

Exports of steel and aluminum to U.S. from Canada and Mexico totaled $25 billion in 2017

Stelco was up 2 percent on the day as of 2:10 p.m. in Toronto, while ArcelorMittal was down 0.8 percent.

Canada — both the top source of U.S. steel imports and top buyer of U.S. steel exports — has threatened to retaliate and continues to press for an exemption. While the White House has signaled certain sectors could be excluded from the tariffs, Trump tweeted Monday that he would only spare Canada and Mexico if he gets “new & fair” deal in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is scheduled to meet privately with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Mexico City on Monday, before they make a joint public statement with Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is among those urging Trump to back downfrom his tariff plan, and Canadian industry called on Freeland to keep pressing for the same. “I think we have to continue to push for an exemption,” Joseph Galimberti, president of the Canadian Steel Producers Association, said in an interview Monday.


Source: Bloomberg Politics

Original author: Josh Wingrove and Erik Hertzberg
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