Asked what he would do if Trump changed course and slapped duties on Canada, Trudeau said, "We'll see when we get to that point". "It has a negative impact on the NAFTA talks".
Canada, the biggest supplier of steel and aluminum to the United States, escaped Trump's import duties along with Mexico, but the two countries could still face duties if they fail to negotiate a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal. She is to meet US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Congressional leaders and others.
His comments came amid rising global trade tensions in the wake of a U.S. decision to impose steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
The steel tariff threat was seen by many to be an attempt by the Trump administration to pressure Canada and Mexico to complete the NAFTA talks - giving in to other USA demands or giving up some of their own -rather than risk the punishing steel and aluminum duties.
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Trudeau also rejected the idea that the tariff exemption was some kind of benevolent American favour that required repayment.
Canada, the top supplier of steel and aluminum to the United States market, and Mexico have been temporarily exempted from the tariffs until trilateral continental trade talks conclude.
"The exemptions aren't a magical favour that was being done (for Canada)", Trudeau said. Trump did say he expected both Canada and Mexico to take action to prevent other countries from sneaking steel into the U.S.by sending them to Canada or Mexico first.
Trudeau's view has prominent support: A poll of leading economists from the University of Chicago has found rare unanimity on the topic, with a newly released survey Monday showing that zero per cent of economists surveyed believe tariffs will help Americans.
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The prime minister made the point by mentioning in his US interview that he was a few kilometres from the Bagotville air force base, built during the Second World War to protect critical aluminum supplies required by the military.
"I told the president that imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum does not help with regard to NAFTA..." There is no better security partner in the world. The tour was planned before the tariff exemption was confirmed but will still go ahead despite the exemption, with stops in Alma., Que, Hamilton, Ont., Sault Ste.
Trudeau also said it was in part due to the hard work of Canadian officials that Trump exempted Canada from the tariffs last week. While the penalties take effect later this month, Trump has encouraged countries to try negotiating exemptions for themselves.
Canada is the largest market for the United States, with 283 billion USA dollars worth of goods exported to Canada in 2017.
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