At his daily briefing from outside his home on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he has spoken with President Trump about a variety of topics, including the new NAFTA deal (known officially as the USMCA), and that he had brought forward concerns regarding potential tariffs, specifically on the aluminum sector.
“I highlighted to the president that the pandemic has disrupted usual manufacturing processes and supply chains,” said Trudeau. “That has caused certain disruption in the aluminum sector that is starting to realign itself, given the economies are starting up again and manufacturing is getting going.”
Trudeau said he had “impressed upon” the president that “it would be a shame to see tariffs come in between our two countries at a time when we’re celebrating NAFTA, and at a time where we want our businesses and our manufacturers to get going as quickly as possible.”
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The new deal was signed by Canada, the US, and Mexico in November of 2018, and it officially came into effect on July 1 of this year.
The main component of the agreement includes an exemption for a significant quantity of Canadian automobiles and auto parts from potential future US 232 tariff measures.
It’s also meant to further support middle-class jobs in Canada, strengthen economic ties between the three countries, and contribute to North America’s global competitiveness.
“Our focus from the outset of the negotiations was the need to preserve middle-class jobs and foster economic growth,” said MP Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time. “The new NAFTA preserves tariff-free access in the North American trading bloc and secures essential cross-border supply chains that make North America more globally competitive.”