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Top US, Canada trade officials to talk metal tariffs remedy

Robert Lighthizer

As the clock ticks to advance the Trump administration’s North American Free Trade Agreement replacement deal, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canada’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, are expected to discuss a process to remove steel and aluminum tariffs that have been in place for close to a year.

Lighthizer is expected to “float a proposal” to remove the tariffs and “chart a path forward” for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, according to a senior administration official. A GOP senator in touch with the White House confirmed the U.S. was looking at removing the tariffs to build support needed to pass the deal.

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Three aides say the White House hopes to send paperwork soon to Congress that would line up a vote before a monthlong recess begins in late July. But several lawmakers – including Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa – have told the White House it would go nowhere if the U.S. does not limit tariffs.

In a hearing on the budget for the Treasury Department, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., asked Secretary Steven Mnuchin about when the U.S. would remove the tariffs on Canada and Mexico.

The president has instructed us to try to figure out a solution,I think we are close to an understanding with Mexico and Canada. I’ve spoken to the finance ministers. Amb. Lighthizer is leading the effort on this, but I can assure you it’s a priority of ours.

Mnuchin told the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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