Flags of the U.S., Canada and Mexico fly next to each other in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
OTTAWA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. officials have agreed to remove tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada and Mexico in 48 hours, paving the way for the three North American counties to enact a new trade pact, the Washington Post and Politico reported on Friday.
The reports come after U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed the tariffs earlier on Friday, according to Trudeau’s spokesman.
Trudeau is scheduled to speak to reporters at 1:30 pm Eastern Time (1730 GMT) when he meets with steel workers at the Stelco Holding Inc, his spokesman said on Twitter.
The two leaders spoke “about Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, and Canada’s retaliatory tariffs,” Cameron Ahmad, Trudeau’s communications director, wrote. “They also discussed China, uranium, and the new NAFTA.”
The deal does not involve quotas, the two news outlets said.
The White House declined to comment on the reports.
Representatives for the U.S. Trade Representative and Mexican officials did not respond to a request for comment.
Removing the tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico could help the three countries’ trade pact secure ratification in the U.S. Congress.
Lifting the tariffs was seen as a key hurdle to enacting U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal (USMCA) signed last year. The new pact would replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Reporting by Steve Scherer and Doina Chiacu; Additional reporting by Dave Lawder; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Susan Thomas