The seventh round of NAFTA negotiations closes today with little progress made on key issues. Important deliberations on country-specific quotas
The seventh round of NAFTA negotiations closes today with little progress made on key issues. Important deliberations on country-specific quotas of auto inputs remain a sticking point.
These meetings have been upstaged by President Donald Trump’s announcement last week of US blanket tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminium products.
Canada, which supplies the US with 16% of all its imported steel, will be hit particularly hard by the new measures; PM Justin Trudeau has labelled the decision “absolutely unacceptable”. Canada and the EU have threatened counter-tariffs, potentially sparking a tit-for-tat trade war.
Economists warn that the White House’s tariffs will harm American industries dependent on steel more than they will help American steel producers; employees in industries using steel outnumber steel production workers by more than 6 million. Rising steel prices for manufacturers could decrease productivity and lead to layoffs.
Trump has justified the tariffs on the basis of national security, setting a risky precedent; other countries can claim the same reasoning for future tariffs. With the very real possibility of a trade war looming, expect the international community and WTO to try to force Trump to back down.
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