U.S. President Donald Trump said in a series of tweets on Monday the recently-announced tariffs on imported steel and aluminum would not be imposed on Canada and Mexico if a new trade deal is reached.
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“We have large trade deficits with Mexico and Canada. NAFTA, which is under renegotiation right now, has been a bad deal for U.S.A. Massive relocation of companies & jobs. Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed,” Trump wrote in a tweet.
Officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico will meet on Monday to wrap up trade agreement talks. The president, who said last Thursday the tariffs will be set at 25% for steel and 10% for aluminum, slammed Canada – the largest exporter of both metals to the U.S. – Monday morning, demanding the northern neighbor treat American farmers “much better” because its current actions are “highly restrictive.”
Trump also hinted that Mexico could be exempt from the soon-to-be imposed tariffs if the country could curb the flow of illegal drugs heading into the U.S.
“Mexico must do much more on stopping drugs from pouring into the U.S. They have not done what needs to be done. Millions of people addicted and dying,” Trump tweeted.
Mexican and Canadian officials said their respective governments would retaliate if Trump follows through with his plans, while European leaders threatened their own retaliatory measures as well. French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday urged the World Trade Organization to take action against the tariffs, calling them “economic nationalism.”
"It is important in this context that the European Union reacts swiftly and proportionately within the WTO and in respect of the WTO," Macron told journalists.
Still, regardless of potential trade wars, the U.S. president has not been deterred, and vowed to press on.
“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!” Trump wrote in a tweet last Friday.
The tariffs sparked concerns that American consumers would be hit with higher prices on products made with steel and aluminum, including automobiles and beer. Those fears shook the U.S. stocks – the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 420 when then tariff plans were announced. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, however, downplayed the worries and said the impact on many items would be minor.
“The impact on the cost of a car will be about one-half of 1% to three-quarters of 1%, depending upon the price of the car itself,” Ross told Fox News on Sunday. “The impact on a can of beer will be a fraction of 1%. Beer sells for over $1 a can. The impact on BumbleBee tuna packages, again, trivial.”