Canada Seeks Pelosi's Support in Push to Lift U.S. Metal Tariffs

(Bloomberg) -- Canada is asking U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to help press the Trump administration to lift tariffs on its steel and aluminum exports.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said she met Pelosi and other Democrats on the sidelines of a global security conference in Munich on Saturday. They discussed President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum imports, Canada’s retaliatory tariffs and the ratification path for the countries’ new trade deal.

“I explained why Canada is so strongly opposed to them and why Canada believes they must be lifted,” Freeland told reporters. Canada has said it’ll lift its retaliatory tariffs, affecting about C$16 billion ($12 billion) in U.S. goods ranging from steel to ketchup, when the U.S. cancels its measures.

Canada Seeks Pelosi's Support in Push to Lift U.S. Metal Tariffs

Freeland delivered a similar appeal last week to Senator Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Republican who chairs the chamber’s Finance Committee. She said she told him “that now that we have concluded our trade negotiation with the United States, that is all the more reason why those tariffs must be lifted.”

Grassley said after meeting Freeland that he believes Canada won’t advance legislation to ratify the successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement if the steel and aluminum tariffs remain in place.

New Trade Pact

Freeland declined to comment, while saying Canada is moving forward and that she’s in touch with cabinet colleagues and lawmakers about ratification.

“We are very seized of the issue and we are working on it. In due course, we will present our plan for ratification of the new Nafta,” she said. “Canada is definitely focused on our domestic ratification process and we feel we have it well in hand.”

Canada has an election in October, meaning the current crop of lawmakers will likely adjourn in June.

Canada Seeks Pelosi's Support in Push to Lift U.S. Metal Tariffs

Freeland said she also spoke to Pelosi about two Canadians detained in China, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. She also met with the president of the International Crisis Group, Kovrig’s employer, after he was seized by Chinese authorities on Dec. 10. Kovrig is on leave from a position in Canada’s foreign service.

Kovrig and Spavor were detained after Canada, acting on a U.S. request, arrested Huawei Technologies Co.’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on Dec. 1 in Vancouver. Canada has since been trying to rally international support for their release, arguing that China arbitrarily seized Kovrig and Spavor in retaliation.

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