US, Canada agree deal to end steel, aluminum tariffs

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The United States and Canada have reached a deal that would end US tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada that have created friction between the trading partners, they said in a joint statement on Friday.

The governments “agree to eliminate... all tariffs the United States imposed under Section 232 on imports of steel and aluminum products from Canada and all tariffs Canada imposed in retaliation for the Section 232 action,” the statement said.

The steep US tariffs imposed last year on national security grounds -- 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum -- became a major stumbling block to ratifying a new North American trade pact negotiated last year by the two countries and Mexico.

Canada and Mexico were initially exempted from the tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump using a national security argument as part of his hardline trade tactics.

Once America’s neighbors were included, the levies drew retaliation with tariffs on a host of US products.

Even after the governments agreed to a revised free trade deal -- the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement -- the tariffs remained in place, but officials in Ottawa and Mexico City said they would not sign unless Washington removed the metals duties.

There has been no word from Mexico on whether it too has reached an agreement with Trump’s trade team.

According to the agreement with Canada, Washington will remove the tariffs on steel and aluminum and Canada will end the retaliation “no later than two days from the issuance of this statement.”

In addition, they will withdraw all complaints lodged in the World Trade Organization.

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