Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland ended trade talks with U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer a day early with the threat of U.S. tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum and election deadlines still hovering over the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
This story by The Canadian Press appeared in Automotive News Canada.
Freeland was back in Ottawa Wednesday, a day after a lengthy meeting in Washington.
She said Canada will “respond appropriately” to any U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, with a temporary exemption set to expire at the end of the week.
Freeland insisted the steel issue remains separate from the renegotiation of NAFTA, a deal that Trump has repeatedly blasted and threatened to rip up.
“Canada has said from the outset, this is in our view entirely separate from the NAFTA negotiation,” she said after her two-hour, face-to-face meeting inside the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the site of intensive NAFTA talks over the last several weeks.
American trade analysts said there’s an obvious connection, but Freeland may be downplaying it in an attempt to bargain effectively.