Canada and Mexico will be exempt from the steel and aluminum tariffs President Donald Trump will unveil this week once a new North American Free Trade Agreement is reached, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday.
Acknowledging the fears that Trump’s surprise announcement last week could spark a trade war, Mnuchin also hinted that the final implementation may address some of the issues.
In testimony before a House appropriations subcommittee, the Treasury secretary said he has been in contact with his counterparts on the specifics of the tariff proposals and “we’re trying to deal with this on a case by case basis.”
The president “does understand the potential impact it has on the economy, and I think we have a way of managing through this.”
Trump last week announced that he would be imposing tariffs of 25 percent on all imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum to protect domestic industries, citing a rarely-invoked national security section of US trade law.
That sparked global outrage and threats of retaliation, including from the European Union, and NAFTA-partner Canada which has the most to lose as the main provider of steel to the US market.
Trump said he would not back down, even for the closest US neighbors, unless and until a deal to revamp NAFTA that is “fair” for US business and workers was signed.
Many observers read that as a softening of his stance to have no exemptions, and that sent global financial markets roaring back Tuesday.
Mnuchin was even more definitive saying that with Canada and Mexico “our objective is to have a new NAFTA and once we do that — which I’m cautiously optimistic on — the tariffs won’t apply to them.”
However, with the sanctions due out this week and the latest round of NAFTA talks ending Monday with no agreement imminent, the two countries will face tariffs on their metals exports at least for some time.
The NAFTA talks are complicated by coming presidential elections in Mexico in July as well as crucial midterm elections in the United States in November.
Saturday Night Live mocks Trump as an unpopular dork at high school after disastrous NATO Summit
NBC's "Saturday Night Live" on Saturday ridiculed President Donald Trump after he was laughed at by world leaders during a NATO Summit in London.
The skit featured Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emanuel Macron as the cool kids at the NATO cafeteria, while U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempts to join their cliche.
Trump asked to sit at their table, but they suggested he sit with Latvia.
They said the seat was for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was then invited to join the cool kids table.
The skit included Johnson taping an "impeach me" sign to Trump's back.
Watch a band in cow costumes sing about Devin Nunes at White House impeachment protest
Protesters clad in full-body furry costumes sang about Rep. Devin Nunes during a Saturday protest at the White House.
The protesters were dressed as cattle after the Fresno Republican sued a fake cow Twitter, @DevinCow.
The protesters changed the lyrics to the hit 1958 Chuck Berry song "Johnny B. Goode" to "Devin Nunes."
Video of the protested was posted to Twitter by Democratic strategist Parkhomenko, who was targeted by Nunes in one of his lawsuits.
The lyrics to the 1958 Champs song "Tequila" were changed to "subpoenas."
Shocking photos document the devastating flooding pummeling San Francisco
San Francisco was battered by a heavy winter storm on Saturday that caused localized flooding throughout the city.
"A low pressure system off the Northern California coast Saturday hurled bans of strong downpours into the Bay Area, triggering a flood warning for San Francisco," KPIX-TV reported.
"San Francisco Muni officials tweeted that train service between West Portal to Embarcadero Station had been shut down due to flooding. Several streets were flooded in San Francisco’s western neighborhood including knee-high water at 15th Ave and Wawona," the station noted.