October 12, 2018 / 9:52 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Mexico economy minister to call Canada colleagues over steel spat

(Adds quotes, background on dispute)

MEXICO CITY, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said he will speak by telephone with Canadian officials on Friday and seek to persuade them to exclude Mexican steel from new trade measures announced by Canada this week.

The Canadian government said it would impose new quotas and tariffs on imports of seven categories of steel from many countries including Mexico to head off a potential rise in imports that the United States fears could be improperly routed through facilities in its northern neighbor.

“What we are strongly rejecting is that Canada has not excluded its (main trade) partners in the protections,” Guajardo told reporters following a meeting with business leaders, noting that Mexico excludes both U.S. and Canadian steel exporters from its own 15 percent steel tariff applied to other nations.

Guajardo, who said he estimates a $200 million impact on Mexican steel exporters as a result of the Canadian measures, said he is not yet considering any retaliatory measures against Canada.

“We first have to talk with the Canadians to try and make our best effort to be excluded,” he said.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico in June, citing a risk to U.S. national security.

Despite the fact that Canada and Mexico have agreed to a renewed continental trade deal, the U.S. metals measures remain in place.

Mexico’s top trade official criticized what he called the “profound distortions” the U.S. measures have caused.

“We think we’re affecting the integration of the North American steel industry,” said Guajardo. (Reporting by Sharay Angulo; editing by David Alire Garcia and James Dalgleish)

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