U.S. nears deal with Canada, Mexico over removing metals tariffs

End of U.S. tariffs on Canadian Mexican steel and aluminum close MnuchinMore

But US officials have reportedly sought to persuade Mexico City and Ottawa to accept export quotas in return for lifting the metal tariffs for their countries.

"We made the case as we have been doing for some time that the best outcome for both Canadians and Americans would be to lift those tariffs and to have free trade between our two countries who have this fantastic trading relationship in place", she told reporters after the meeting in Washington. None of the three countries have ratified the new U.S. -Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA).

"I think we are close to an understanding with Mexico and Canada", on resolving the tariffs, Mnuchin said at a U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing.

Progress being made between Washington and Mexico City toward repealing US tariffs on steel means it is not the right time for Mexico to target new USA products in retaliation for the duties, a senior Mexican official said on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Freeland will travel to Washington to press for a lifting of the tariffs in meetings with officials including US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Senator Chuck Grassley.

Mr Mnuchin said Wednesday this was likely to be worked out soon.

Mnuchin acknowledged to the senators what business leaders in all three countries, as well as USA lawmakers on both sides of the political divide, have been saying: that the tariffs must be lifted for the newly negotiated North American free trade deal to be ratified by legislators. He did not provide any details about the potential agreement.

Mr Mnuchin also repeated his expectation that US negotiators would return to Beijing to pursue stalled talks aimed at resolving the US-China trade war.

"I have optimism if we do things well, the Americans may come along", said Seade. "Ambassador Lighthizer is leading the effort on this, but I can assure you it is a priority of ours".

"I think we had a constructive meeting with the vice premier", Mr Mnuchin told lawmakers Wednesday, referring to last week's brief meetings with Chinese trade envoy Liu He.

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, left, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin walk on Pennsylvania Avenue back to the White House on Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Washington.

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