President Donald Trump on Monday dangled the possibility of lifting the new steel and aluminum tariffs he’s imposed if NAFTA is renegotiated to terms more favorable to the US.
“We have large trade deficits with Mexico and Canada. NAFTA, which is under renegotiation right now, has been a bad deal for U.S.A. Massive relocation of companies & jobs. Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed,” Trump tweeted Monday morning.
He added, “Also, Canada must … treat our farmers much better. Highly restrictive. Mexico must do much more on stopping drugs from pouring into the U.S. They have not done what needs to be done. Millions of people addicted and dying.”
The President later tweeted: “To protect our Country we must protect American Steel! #AMERICA FIRST”
Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso responded to Trump’s NAFTA tweet, calling the drug issue a “shared responsibility” between the two countries.
Trump has said he is imposing a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told CNN Sunday that no country will be excluded from the tariffs.
The President didn’t specify Monday whether the potential tariff rollback would be applied only to Mexico and Canada.
But Navarro, the director of the White House National Trade Council, made remarks less than an hour after the President’s tweet that appeared at odds with the latest White House position.
“I understand if we get a great NAFTA agreement, and (US Trade Representative Robert) Lighthizer is trying to do that, that would be a great thing for the American people, but at this point in time, 25% on steel, 10% on aluminum, no country exclusions, firm line in the sand,” Navarro told Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” Monday morning.
Navarro said on Sunday that the tariffs were set to be signed by the President this week or next. However, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross left some room for Trump to change his mind.
“Whatever his final decision is is what will happen,” Ross told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “If he says something different, it will be different. I have no reason to think he’s going to change.”