The United States struck deals on Friday to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico, the three governments said, removing a major obstacle to legislative approval of a new North American trade pact.
The separate agreements, which will not impose US quotas on Canadian and Mexican metals shipments, will also eliminate Mexican and Canadian retaliatory tariffs on a broad range of US products, including pork, beef and bourbon.
The United States and Canada said their agreement will be implemented by Sunday afternoon, and includes new curbs aimed at preventing dumped steel and aluminum from China and other countries from entering the US market via Canada.
US President Donald Trump had imposed the global “Section 232” tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum in March 2018 on national security grounds, invoking a 1962 Cold War-era trade law.
Both Canada and Mexico argued for 14 months that their metals industries posed no security threat as their economies are integrated with the United States, and challenged the tariffs before the World Trade Organization.
“This is just pure good news for Canadians,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters after announcing the deal to workers at Stelco Holdings Inc’s steel mill in Hamilton, Ontario.
Stelco shares soared 11 percent on the news, while top US steelmaker Nucor fell 3.1 percent and US Steel Corp, which had seen massive profit improvement because of the tariffs, fell 1.2 percent.
Spokesmen for US Steel and Nucor, which had advocated for maintaining strong tariff protections, could not be reached for comment.
The metals tariffs were a major irritant for Canada and Mexico and had caused them to halt progress toward ratification the new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the trilateral trade deal to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.
US lawmakers with constituents suffering from Canadian and Mexican retaliation, including Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, also said they would not consider a USMCA vote with the tariffs in place.