Canadian ambassador expects U.S. steel tariffs to be lifted in a 'few weeks'
Ben Cousins, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Thursday, February 21, 2019 4:24PM EST
Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. expects mounting pressure on American businesses will force White House officials to remove tariffs in “the next few weeks.”
David McNaughton made the comments to reporters on Thursday following a panel discussion with the Canadian American Business Council in Washington, D.C. He said Americans are starting to realize the U.S.-imposed tariffs are actually impacting their own bottom line more than anticipated.
“When you look at the number of people in the United States who are talking about why these tariffs have to go, (everyone) from steel workers to businesses to governors to mayors to workers,” he said. “This is hurting Americans and I think there’s enough pressure building that I think we can find a resolution.”
When asked for an expected timeline for the tariffs to be dropped, McNaughton replied: “I think that we’ll get there in the next few weeks.”
During the USMCA negotiations, U.S. President Donald Trump imposed a 25 per cent tariff on Canadian and Mexican steel and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminum. The Canadian government retaliated with equal tariffs on a variety of U.S.-made goods.
Marc Garneau, Canada’s minister of transport, agreed with McNaughton in that the tariffs could be lifted shortly.
“Hopefully at some point in the near future, the United States will agree with us and drop those tariffs,” he said.
Garneau added the USMCA deal can be officially ratified in Canada following 21 days of debate, which is scheduled to conclude on March 18. The federal Liberal government is set unveil their newest budget the next day.
“We believe that our strategy is actually working,” said Garneau. “We’re certainly not going to simply roll over and watch these tariffs.”
Canada’s strategy to eliminate the tariffs has included arguing that the measures are against the law and actually hurt Americans.
“Sometimes it takes a lot of audience to reach before the point gets through and we’re going to continue passing that same message, that it is actually having unintended consequences in the United States.”
Gordon Giffin and Jim Blanchard, two former U.S. ambassadors to Canada, have said the deal cannot be ratified on Capitol Hill until the tariffs are lifted and believe the deal will face a stiff challenge in its current state as there are critics on both sides of the aisle.
With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press