US nears metal tariffs deal with Canada, Mexico

End of U.S. tariffs on Canadian Mexican steel and aluminum close MnuchinMore

End of U.S. tariffs on Canadian Mexican steel and aluminum close MnuchinMore

Jesus Seade, Mexican deputy foreign minister for North America, told Reuters by telephone that a deal to remove the so-called Section 232 tariffs was "very close" but he wanted Canada to be in the same position in its negotiations with Washington.

In his testimony before a Senate committee, Mr Mnuchin said: "I think we are close to an understanding with Mexico and Canada".

U.S. President Donald Trump has denied that trade talks with China had broken down even as he imposed more tariffs on Chinese imports and both sides prepared for another round of further tariffs, roiling global markets in recent days.

On Wednesday, Freeland will travel to Washington to press for a lifting of the tariffs in meetings with officials including US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Senator Chuck Grassley.

Mnuchin acknowledged what business leaders in all three countries, as well as USA lawmakers on both sides of the political divide, have been saying: that the tariffs must be lifted for the newly negotiated North American free-trade deal to be ratified by legislators. He not provide any details about the potential agreement.

A USTR spokeswoman declined comment on the meeting.

The US, Canada and Mexico signed a revamped North American free trade pact last October, but ratification has been delayed over the tariffs row.

Freeland discussed workers' rights in her meeting with Lighthizer, and filled him in on her talks on Tuesday in Toronto with two visiting members of the new Mexican government, which is embarking on major labour reforms to meet its obligations under the new trade deal. Instead, she just noted "Canada believes in the new [USMCA] agreement that we reached with the United States and Mexico", and "we very much hope it can be ratified in all of our countries, although the domestic processes are up to each country". It will not reconvene until December.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer enters his vehicle as he leaves from the U.S. Capitol House carriage entrance after a meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at the Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 15, 2019.

"I have optimism if we do things well, the Americans may come along", said Seade. "I can assure you it is a priority for us".

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