Freeland say lifting U.S. tariffs is part of ratification of the new NAFTA


OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is linking the lifting of “absurd” U.S. tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel to the ratification of the new North American free-trade deal.

Freeland says dealing with the tariffs — imposed by President Donald Trump under a controversial national-security provision of U.S. law — is a key part of the ratification process.

With the clock ticking in Canada’s Parliament towards a June ratification deadline, Freeland remained non-committal Wednesday about moving forward on the necessary legislation with the tariffs still in place.

If a bill to implement the pact isn’t tabled in the House of Commons by next month, it won’t be possible for Canada to ratify it before MPs leave Ottawa in June for the last time before the October federal election.

Freeland says she’s heartened by the recent comments of American lawmakers who say the new trilateral trade agreement can’t be ratified with the tariffs in place.

Freeland is Washington later Wednesday for a NATO summit, and officials say she will continue to press the tariff issue in a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.


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