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President Donald Trump signaled on Monday that his hastily announced tariffs on steel and aluminum may not be implemented, at least for Canada and Mexico, if a "fair" NAFTA agreement is negotiated.
"Tariffs on steel and aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed," the president tweeted.
U.S., Canadian and Mexican representatives meet Monday for the final round of NAFTA talks, which have been complicated by Trump's tariff announcement on Thursday. The president announced a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum, roiling financial markets and causing sharp rebukes from Canada, the European Union and others, including many U.S. companies.
Later on Monday, House Speaker Paul Ryan urged Trump to not continue with the tariffs and then Trump responded, telling reporters from the Oval Office that he wasn't backing down. But Trump did hint again that if NAFTA negotiations go well, he would address the steel tariffs for Canada and Mexico.
Trump surprised aides Thursday with the sudden tariff announcement made during a meeting with steel and aluminum executives and with no accompanying paperwork. Initially that morning, the White House delayed an announcement, and it appeared Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn had persuaded the president to scrap the tariffs, or at least wait until more analysis was done.
But during a meeting with Cohn and other advisors that day, Trump was adamant about wanting tariffs, overruling Cohn in favor of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and trade advisor Peter Navarro, who wanted the measures. The president then announced the tariffs with cameras rolling after the media was invited in to cover the conclusion of the meeting with metals executives.