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PM Trudeau talks steel and doughnuts in Hamilton

13 March 2018

Sean Donnelly, Chief Executive of ArcelorMittal Dofasco (MT.AS), said on Tuesday the company is not seeking Canadian government aid as the domestic steel industry faces uncertainty after U.S. President Donald Trump provided temporary relief on steel imports.

President Donald Trump urged the quick completion of the NAFTA negotiations in a phone call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday, amid indications the USA wants a deal wrapped up this spring.

The prime minister adds he is still working hard to gain a permanent exemption to these tariffs and has made it clear the U.S. argument of national security makes no sense.

Mr. Trudeau said his government is working hard to ensure that the exemptions stay in place and took issue with the U.S. President's decision to use the tariffs as a bargaining chip.

"There is no national security argument to be made against Canada", Trudeau said.

President Trump temporarily exempted Canada and Mexico from new tariffs of 25 per cent on foreign steel and 10 per cent one on aluminum; he imposed those tariffs last week, citing China's dumping of excess product at below market rates as a national-security threat. Mexico is also a member nation of the trade deal.

He said the government needs to monitor steel imports more closely so that if shipment volumes are rising, it can react quickly to stop Canada from becoming a dumping ground into the US market.

NAFTA is an agreement which came into force from January 1994 by Canada, Mexico and United States creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. But relative to bigger industries such as agriculture and auto manufacturing, the steel sector only employs 22,000 direct jobs and represented 2 percent of exports past year.

Trudeau says he has already spoken with President Donald Trump about foreign steel dumping and is willing to take further action, if necessary, to protect our industry. He was to also visit three Canadian steel cities this week to reassure workers. Canadian steel is in your tanks. Marie and Regina this week.

"Canada's steel and aluminum industries provide thousands of Canadians with good, middle class jobs and play an important role in our economy", Trudeau said in a statement.

"This week, I will travel across Canada to meet with the workers and businesses at the heart of our country's world-class steel and aluminum industries".

PM Trudeau talks steel and doughnuts in Hamilton