OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada, which reached a tentative trade deal with the United States and Mexico, is now pushing the United States to remove steel and aluminium tariffs, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday.
A last-minute deal, reached on Sunday night, protects Canada’s automotive industry from potentially devastating U.S. tariffs, but includes no assurance that the United States will lift tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminium.
“We had to make compromises, and some were more difficult than others,” Trudeau told reporters. “We never believed that it would be easy, and it wasn’t, but today is a good day for Canada.”
Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada had “a bit of wind in our sails” after the trade deal and would use that momentum to press the steel and aluminium issues which she said were on separate tracks.
The United Steelworkers of Canada union called the agreement a “sellout” for steel and aluminium workers.
“The Liberals made concession after concession, until the Trump administration got the deal it wanted,” the union’s Canadian director, Ken Neumann said in a statement.
U.S. President Donald Trump called the draft agreement “the most important trade deal we’ve ever made by far.”
The Canadian dollar strengthened to a four-month high as traders bet that easing trade tensions would support another Bank of Canada interest rate hike as soon as this month. Canadian auto parts markers jumped, though the country’s main stock index edged lower after a strong start.
The deal would preserve Chapter 19, a dispute resolution mechanism that Canadian negotiators saw as crucial protection against unfair U.S. tariffs, but offer U.S. farmers new access to Canada’s sheltered dairy industry.
It includes export charges to limit shipments of some dairy products, including skim milk powder. Trudeau promised to compensate the dairy industry.
Canada made concessions on dairy in its recent trade deal with the European Union as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The Dairy Farmers of Canada said its members were “deeply disappointed.”
“Dairy farmers again paid the price to conclude an international trade agreement,” the group said in a statement.
Additional reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Marguerita Choy