As an accord has already been reached on the new trade agreement among the United States, Canada, and Mexico, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland expressed her opinion that the leverage given Washington, D.C. by the Section 232 aluminium and steel tariffs is no longer needed.
Speaking to reporters late last week in the U.S. capitol, Freeland said that residents of the dominion do not see a reason for the continued punitive measures against its aluminium and steel exports.
“I think for Canadians, the 232 steel and aluminum tariffs from the outset have been of huge concern to our country. They are illegal, they are unjustified, and they are, frankly absurd,” she said.
“The notion that Canada could pose a national security threat to the United States in any way is really hard for us to fathom.”
Freeland continued by noting the discrepancy between Section 232’s original intent and the stated reason given by the Trump Administration for its use in this situation.
“Now 232 was never meant to be a tool to be used as any kind of leverage, that would be a very improper use of it,” expressed Freeland. “But our American partners, at moment, were quite explicit that that was the intention.”
As the Section 232 tariffs were implemented for the stated reason of gaining leverage during negotiations for an agreement that has now been completed, Freeland said that the need for the tariffs is now past.
“The deal is done, no more leverage is needed. So both on the national security grounds and when it comes to the notion that there could be some sort of negotiating purpose served by 232, we really think this is groundless. So for that reason, I think many Canadians have a really hard time understanding how we could take the final steps on NAFTA while these tariffs remain in place.”
“I think it is a win-win for both of our countries, our very strong security allies to get these tariffs lifted and that is what we are working towards and that is what will happen,” she concluded.