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President Trump opens door for future tariffs against Canada and Mexico

President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meeting at the White House on June 20. Photo: Office of Prime Minister Trudeau

President Trump opened the door to placing tariffs on Canada and Mexico again in response to “tremendous shipments of certain products.”

He made the remarks during an appearance with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 20 ahead of a meeting in Washington to discuss trade and other issues.

“We’ll see,” President Trump said, after a reporter asked if there would be more tariffs on Canada and Mexico. “They have to do what they have to do. We can’t have big, tremendous shipments of certain products – they understand that very well.”

President Trump called off his planned tariffs against Mexico less than two weeks ago. In May, the U.S. lifted its 25 percent and 10 percent tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

The talk of tariffs tinged an otherwise positive meeting for U.S.-Canada trade relations. Trump and Trudeau agreed to ratify a new preclearance agreement for Canada and the U.S., which includes cargo.

“We can’t overstate the importance of free trade to the Canada-U.S. relationship,” Trudeau said, appearing upbeat after his day of meetings in Washington.

But earlier, President Trump suggested he was concerned about potential transshipping of products via Canada. While he didn’t specify a country of origin, China is a likely candidate.

“There won’t be, hopefully, transshipping,” President Trump said. “If there’s transshipping, I’ll call Justin, and I’m sure he’ll take care of it.”

“We’ll be fine,” Trudeau said.

The Prime Minister also met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to drum up support for the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), NAFTA’s successor.

Pelosi has said Congressional action on the USMCA will depend on changes including environmental and labor protections.

Trudeau is keen to get the agreement ratified as quickly as possible ahead of Canada’s federal elections in October.

Mexico approved the agreement on June 19.

Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected]