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Mexico Close To Striking Deal With Us On Tariffs On Steel & Aluminum

Mexico Close To Striking Deal With Us On Tariffs On Steel & Aluminum
According to news reports quoting a senior Mexican official, an agreement with the United States over steel and aluminum tariffs without quotas is soon to be reached. Mexico also hopes that a similar agreement is reached by Canada before completing it.
A deal to remove the so-called Section 232 tariffs was "very close", Jesus Seade, Mexican deputy foreign minister for North America, told the media. He however also wanted Canada to achieve a similar position with the US on the issue. 
"What we've been talking about for a week," he said, "is eliminating the 232 without any quotas," noting that it was "very possible" Canada could sign up to a "similar" deal.
He said that a "consultation and monitoring system" could handle any if there were any sudden movements in future trade and added that securing a deal with the US without Canada is still an open proposition.
optimism about a resolution to the steel dispute was expressed by the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. However there was no direct comment available on the issue from Canada.
"I think we are close to an understanding with Mexico and Canada," on resolving the tariffs, Mnuchin said at a U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. No detail about the potential agreement was provided by him.
The issue of tariffs on Canadian metals has been discussed with the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, said Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. She however refrained to make any comment about the possibility of a successful deal.  
"We made the case as we have been doing for some time that the best outcome for both Canadians and Americans would be to lift those tariffs and to have free trade between our two countries who have this fantastic trading relationship in place," she told reporters after the meeting in Washington. There was no comment from a USTR spokeswoman.
Canada's negotiating strategy was not discussed by her when she was asked about the chances of a deal. It would be "very, very problematic" for Canadian ratification of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal (USMCA) if the tariffs were continued with by the US.
A precondition for the ratification of the USMCA is the lifting of the tariffs, believe some US lawmakers and Canada and Mexico. The USMCA is slated to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. The USMCA has not been ratified by either of the legislators of the three countries.
According to reports citing Canadian government sources, Montreal has been trying to convince the Trump administration about the shortage of time for the ratification of the USMCA by this year.
Canada's House of Commons – which is set to adjourn for the summer vacations on June 21 before the general elections in the country in October, has to ratify the trade agreement. The Canada's House of Commons would not get together until December this year.
A discussion about the way forward on a potential USMCA vote was held between the Democratic U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Lighthizer. According to reports quoting a Pelosi aide, the meeting had been productive.
"Democrats continued to express our interest in working with the USTR to get to yes, and will be planning more discussions with the USTR on the key questions about the USMCA proposal," the aide reportedly told the media.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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