This Morning in Metals: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau ‘Confident’ in NAFTA Talks

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This morning in metals news, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is confident in the ability to reach a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal, West Coast ports are preparing for the imposition of the Trump administration’s steel tariff, and Tokyo and Seoul are seeking exemptions from the tariffs.

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After Winning Tariff Exemptions, Canada Aims to Navigate Toward NAFTA Deal

Canadian Prime Minister is touring his country’s steel and aluminum country on the heels of exemptions gained from the newly approved U.S. tariffs.

Despite that victory, another big policy items remains on the docket: renegotiating NAFTA.

“The president has said as long as there’s a Nafta there won’t be any tariffs. We have a Nafta now, we will have a Nafta once we improve it. That sounds to me like we’re pretty good on not getting tariffs,” Trudeau said Wednesday in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Michael McKee at a steel mill in Regina, Saskatchewan. “I’m very optimistic we’re going to be able to get to a win-win-win.”

Ports Prepare for Tariffs

West Coast ports, like the Port of Vancouver, are preparing for the impact of the U.S. tariffs set to go into effect March 23.

Abbi Russell, communications manager for the Port of Vancouver in Washington state, told NPR steel is tied to approximately a third of the port’s revenue.

The port is the second-largest importer of steel products on the West Coast, according to the report.

Japan, South Korea Angling for Exemptions

After Canada and Mexico secured temporary exemptions from the steel and aluminum tariffs announced by the U.S., other countries are seeking exemptions of their own.

Among those, according to the Nikkei Asian Review, are Japan and South Korea. Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso called the tariffs “very regrettable” during a news conference earlier this month, according to the report, and Paik Un-gyu, South Korea’s minister of trade and industry said, during a March 9 meeting with steelmakers, “I am sorry that the U.S. government made this decision.”

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According to the report, the South Korean minister added the country plans to seek exemptions from the steel tariff and is also considering taking a case to the World Trade Organization (WTO) with other countries.

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