WASHINGTON — The United States has just applied some deadline pressure, amid its hurry to get a new NAFTA agreement over the next few weeks.
The threat of steel and aluminum tariffs is back on.
While Canada and Mexico originally received an indefinite exemption from the tariffs, a new presidential order adds numerous countries to the exemption list, along with a May 1 expiry date for all exemptions.
After that, tariffs could go into effect for all countries, including Canada and Mexico.
That also happens to be around the deadline date for a new NAFTA in 2018: Beyond May, any agreement would likely not have enough time to pass a ratification vote before there's a new Mexican president and new U.S. Congress in 2019.
The White House is linking the issues: Donald Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro told CNN this week that unless the U.S. gets a better deal on NAFTA, something will happen with tariffs.
Amid concerns that cheap Chinese steel will enter the U.S. from exempted countries, Navarro says those countries must agree to quotas on exports into the U.S.